Last Saturday, we ran a playtest of the Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD) using Zoom. Chris Abbey from Sally 4th in the UK ran the game at his home – and his blog post on the game link is below. WOOD is an in-progress adaptation of the Wars of Ozz rules for fantasy battles.
It was a fun game and I (in Massachusetts) played on the Orcs and Goblins side with Greg Priebe in Maryland and Jim in North Carolina. We were fighting Dwarves led by Buck Surdu (in Florida) and Chris Palmer in Maryland. We purchased our troops unbeknownst to each other, and chose our deployment area first as we bought fewer points worth of troops. This also gave us a recon advantage. I was on the open end of the battlefield and Greg/Jim were on the wooded area. I threw my forces headlong (and somewhat piecemeal and unsupported) at Buck’s forces with the goal of tying him down – and allowing my allies to close to the road. While I took heavy casualties, the strategy worked well enough to gain a minor victory and for our orcs, great orcs, ogres, and goblins to feast on dwarves! As my wolves had routed, there was more for them anyways!
I think the rules system (Wars of Ozz) is quite good, and the new WOOD adaptation will allow me to use many of my old fantasy figures on the tabletop again. Plus I am really looking forward to playing Wars of Ozz! Below are a couple of Chris’ photos – his blog has more.
Here is Chris Abbey’s blog post link worth a look – check it out and let me know what you think!
The time had come for me to get some opponents painted up to oppose the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance from Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). In this case, these opponents are the Tlaxcalans, a Nahua ethnic group that never was conquered by the Aztecs. They did briefly fight Hernan Cortez and his conquistadors before allying with them against their longtime-hated enemy, the Aztecs. They were noted as being a major part of Cortes’ forces, and for having excellent archers. In my Tlaxcalan figures, have a group of veteran archers, a group of novices, a small command group, and a group of elite warriors for games of FeudalPatrol™ using my supplement called Civilizations Collide. All will eventually be shared here. They all are 28mm scale metal models from Outpost Wargames Services acquired from Badger Games in the US.
I chose to start with these archers as they had no shields to paint (time saver) – but also because the Tlaxcalans had a couple of very interesting types of war paint on their faces. From the Osprey plate in one of my books, one style resembled a black “superhero mask” around the eyes. The other one was a series of fine red stripes on a white background. Not all Tlaxcalans had war painted faces, so I could mix in some regular tanned skin as well. Given that some of the 8 figures were similar, this would aid in tabletop differentiation as well. Lastly, painting this unit would allow me some good practice on the faces with war paints as well as the common color themes of the Tlaxcalans according to the Osprey plates (which themselves were based on the various historical codices of the period). I chose to paint 4 figures with the black mask war paint, 2 with the white and red-striped painted war paint, and 2 with no war paint at all.
It would be appropriate for me to make a few more points on paints here. While I do list all the paints that I used at the end of this post for those interested (and for me when I forget and want to know I ended up using when I have another similar future project!), I want to share a few key items.
First, I tried a new tanned flesh paint that I really liked – Army Painter “Tanned Flesh”- and it worked well. I thinned it appropriately as a base coat and used other lighter paints, contrast paints, and washes over it as shades and highlights. Second, I also want to give credit to Faust at Double Down Dice as I had not tried Citadel “Gore-Grunta Fur” for wood – as I did here for bows. I had seen his work on his blog here and was impressed enough to give it a shot. Third, I used Citadel “Averland Sunset” and Vallejo Model Air “Black” to recreate a slightly different color pattern on the quivers to represent them being made from jaguar hides. And lastly, I gave the steel washers a different color – Citadel “Caliban Green” – than the tan undercoat that I had given the washers under my Aztecs. It only shows on the rim of the bases, but I think will help with tabletop differentiation. Many of the poses are similar, and a few are the same (6 poses and 8 figures).
Overall, I loved the figures, but painting them was a bit more challenging than I had thought. The main difficulties were around getting the flesh to where I was happy (again working with a new flesh tone), and the bright reds, black hair, and dark flesh next to bright whites – especially on the headbands. You can judge my efforts, though I did not do as many WIP shots here. You can click on all the images here for a better view.
So let’s get a look at the completed models!
I hope that you found this post enjoyable. Let me know – and stay safe out there!
Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:
Posts on Games and Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
I decided that I needed a short break from building and painting Aztecs – for at least long enough to paint one miniature anyways. This one is called “Folder Bot 3000” from Armorcast Terraform Terrain Ltd.’s “Robot Townies” collection. There are a number of unusual robots and Futurama-inspired lookalikes there. I bought this Folder Bot 3000 on a lark when I got some other terrain stuff from Armorcast a few years back. I do like robots and I do like Futurama and Bender, so I got this one.
The figure stayed on my painting desk in its baggie as I worked on many other projects. This is definitely not my usual practice as I really had no place to properly categorize and put him away for a future game. It was finally Bender’s time…
The figure differs from Bender a bit – his chest “door” hinges are on the right, while the cartoon version’s are on the left, but otherwise it’s similar enough.
I used a 1″ steel washer to mount the figure in lieu of the plastic base. After I assembled the figure, I saw that there were gaps under the arms and they were not fully affixed. There were also some pitting on the figure’s head and back, necessitating my using green stuff as a remedy. In retrospect, I should have just used green stuff to assemble him.
I also saw that the figure just had an empty slit for the “eyes”, and a tiny flat space for the “mouth”. Anyone familiar with Bender knows that he has very expressive “eyes” and a wavy three-lined electronic “mouth”. One of my goals in painting him was to make him as “cartoony” and 2-D as possible. There was no way that I was going to be able to paint the eyes in the slit effectively or to freehand paint the wavy mouth as the figure was then.
I decided to try to sculpt the eyes and the mouth with green stuff. I admire people like Roger at Rantings From Under the Wargame Table who are much better at sculpting with green stuff than I am (as shown by his efforts here). Undaunted, and inspired by Roger (but a little worried), I used green stuff to fill the slit, make eye holes, and to try to sculpt the “waves” on the mouth. The result I achieved is shown below.
I was not happy with the “eye holes” and did not think that I could paint them as “expressive” like in the cartoon. I also did not think that the handle on his chest was big enough – so I used a pin vise to drill out all three. I then carefully cut and filed pieces of paper clip and glued them into the eye holes. This seemed better to me visually – and would be far easier to paint.
As I mentioned, I wanted a cartoon-like miniature. This meant that I would by necessity be limiting any highlighting or excessive shading. Therefore, I also decided that this would be a good opportunity to try to use the Vallejo “Metal Medium” that I had bought to try over two years ago to mix with paints to create a metallic finish that would be in line with the cartoon. This would hopefully prevent me from needing to use any actual metal paints. he would have some shiny aspects, but hopefully not excessive.
I was now ready to prime and paint old Bender.
In line with my painting approach, I decided to wash the primed figure with “Nuln Oil” to give myself a better idea of where to apply the paint/metal medium mixtures. The wash really showed the casting misalignments on the legs and arms, and where some of the errant E6000 had gone. No worries, as I knew that I could both remove the more egregious excess epoxy and hide the casting errors as I painted. I used three different shades of gray, adding the Vallejo “Metal Medium” in a 50/50 mix (all the paints used are listed at the end of the post for those interested).
The painting was fairly straightforward. I used the darker colors on the limbs to hide the misalignments. The mouth was just OK, given how I had to sculpt it. I used some “Nuln Oil GLOSS” on the limbs to accentuate their ring-like construction.
To finish him up, I used a Citadel texture paint (“Astrogranite debris”) on the base and the added a a few colors by dry brushing similar to what I did with my Retrovian platoon. Lastly, I added a satin varnish as I wanted his paint job protected but not too matte.
This guy is not my best work, but not my worst. At tabletop distance he looks fine, and hopefully will put a smile on some gamer’s face. I just needed a change for a bit and the work on this little guy provided that for sure. I’ll probably use him in a retro sci-fi game of Combat PatrolTM at some point. I could have sculpted a cigar or a beer battle or two for old Bender, but I decided that was a bit too much for me.
Last Saturday morning I had the chance to GM and play…(wait for it)…a real tabletop wargame!!! We were able to play a game of Feudal Patrol™ via Zoom. This game is a member of the Combat Patrol™ WWII family of games, and will be available soon from On Military Matters in the US and Sally 4th in the UK. The players were all alone at home and included myself (in Massachusetts), Buck Surdu (in Florida), Dave Wood (in Maryland), Greg Priebe (also in Maryland), and Chris Abbey (in the UK). Buck hosted the Zoom meeting, and I ran the game with some of my Aztec figures in my cellar that followers of this blog have seen completed such as my last one here.
The scenario is called “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”. Huitzilopochtli was a major deity in the Aztec religion, and was particularly noted as a god of war and sacrifice. The scenario uses the supplement I wrote for FeudalPatrol™ called Civilizations Collide. It takes 60 points of attackers against 26 points of defense. However, this being an Aztec attack on another Mexica town, the focus is on capturing incapacitated warriors and dragging them back for sacrifice on the altar of Huitzilopochtli. Of course, the defenders would be trying to take captives to satisfy their particular deity as well. My rules focus on this, and other aspects of Mesoamerican warfare – to try to create an authentic feel – and a different wargaming experience. Even the difficult-to-pronounce names of the weapons (macuahuitl, tepoztopilli, cuauhololli, atlatl, sling (well not that one)) add to the feel. I aimed to create a scenario that is similar to a “Flower War” – where both sides deployed for a ritualized pre-arranged showdown.
The defenders would get more victory points for the same achievements – such as taking captives or incapacitating an enemy figure. One interesting aspect of the Aztec supplement rules is that as you take out an enemy you must take troops away from the battle to drag the incapacitated figure back to a prearranged spot for your side. Which means that as you achieve success on the battlefield, you lose troops for “captive duty” as it were.
Dave, Buck and I were on the attack – and Buck and Chris defended. At first, the defenders were a bit concerned with the seemingly overwhelming odds facing them. But they had the advantage of choosing to deploy after the attackers, as well as the chance to use the defensive terrain around the fields.
Logistically, I had two cameras logged in for the game – one from my iPad and one from my iPhone. I had acquired a nice inexpensive tripod from Xenvo via Amazon called a “Lobsterpod” that worked really well. I moved the figures based on the gamers commands and the game moved along fairly well on the Zoom platform, though not as fast as if the players were all in the same room. Of course, the option to actually see my figures in all their “glory” was compromised (I’m pretty proud of them) – but hey – they are on my previous blog posts for all my readers to see so no problem, right? I only used Aztec figures, but later I will be able to augment the defenders with Tlaxcalans (when I get them painted). I planned here and for the future to allow the gamers to pick their figures beforehand from a menu of available ones, and organize their forces prior to a game.
I set up the tabletop as shown below – some of my 15mm Normandy hedgerows served well as protection around the fields. The walled section of the village is pretty basic here as it does not come into the game except as a collection point for captives.
The attackers tried to flank the enemy on both sides of the board while simultaneously making a frontal assaults to tie the defenders down at the wall. The attackers got a bit unlucky (to say the least) as a veteran/novice “twinned” unit (Dave) moved slowly (even at a sprint). Buck took a unit of Jaguar Warriors straight at Chris’ Arrow Warriors (yes I know they may not have been historical – think of them as elite atlatl troops with limited ammunition), and got mauled – losing two Jaguars Warriors to the defenders as potential sacrifices. On the other flank, I faced off against Greg, and despite his having a terrible early morale result that dispersed his troops, he was able to inflict good damage on my greater numbers. In the end, the defenders were able to do enough damage and take enough prisoners on the attackers for a pretty convincing victory. All agreed that the scenario was well-balanced, and all seemed to have a good time.
Buck took some screen shots that I will share below (click on them for a better view) – and he also wrote a blog post on the battle that you can read here.
I used color-coded and numbered magnets to try to keep the forces straight, and it worked. But magnets in melee do attract…so next time I will use poster tack and small hole punched card of different colors. A gaming challenge is to make sure that the Aztecs and other forces are identifiable for the player, either in remote mode or live. The card solution should be an easy fix.
Here are some shots that I took after the game:
Lastly, here are the gamers:
My thanks to all who participated. It was a nice test of my scenario and the special rules I wrote for Civilizations Collide, which will be a free download from the game’s website when it goes live in September. I must say it was a gratifying experience, and one that I hope to repeat.
I intend to buy Zoom if there is enough interest and host some more games – at least until we are clear of the COVID-19 virus. I could see my running more FeudalPatrol™ games, and even What a Tanker games. If you would be up to a remote game, let me know in the comments section – maybe we can make it happen!
Check out the links for FeudalPatrol™ – its a great and easy card-based system that is really a great step forward.
An army needs a leader! My Aztecs troops will be used in skirmish warfare games of Feudal Patrol™ (check out these two links on the game here and here).
Feudal Patrol™ will launch very soon (very exciting!).
In the game, the basic unit is an Element of 5 figures, including a front-line leader. Up to four Elements will constitute a Warband, and up to four Warbands will make up a Battle Group. Similarly, up to four Battle Groups will constitute an Army. Most games will never be composed of an Army as the system is designed for skirmish level war gaming. Still, it could be used for big battles effectively.
At the highest level of course was the “huey tlatoani” or “Great Speaker” – the emperor of the Aztecs. Under him as the head of the War Council and the supreme field commander was the Cihuacoatl, also called the Snake Woman”. This was not a woman – but always a man – despite the name. Cihuacoatl was also a goddess of fertility and childbirth in Aztec mythology. Yes, it’s a bit confusing, and I’ll leave that right there.
The model was fairly straightforward, though I needed to make a rig of clothespins, poster tack, and specimen bottles (seen below) to paint the back ornament and the banner. Mold lines were easy to deal with on these, and the details were nice.
The challenges here necessitated using slightly larger washers as bases – and 1.25″ washers along with some smaller ones and some plastic card were needed (a list of materials is at the end of this post for those who are interested). As far as painting, care had to be taken with the components so as to not damage them during the build as well as to protect their paint jobs. A little varnish along the way helped here. The other major challenge was on the generals face painting. The details (such as the white markings on the lower blackened part of the face) here were the smallest I have ever attempted on 28mm figures.
I hope that you found this interesting. I am moving on to working on other troops – and A GAME (remotely run) next week with players in 3 US states and the UK – more to follow soon!
Until next time – take care and stay safe all!
Miscellaneous details and references for those interested:
Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”
Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer (this post) – 1 Aztec General and 1 drummer
When one looks at the historical images of various Aztec warriors of the 16th Century, some of the most striking ones are those of the Jaguar Warriors. The Jaguar Warriors were true elite warriors, similar to the Eagle Warriors in having high and noble status in Aztec culture. They wore elaborately decorated suits (tlahuitli) that affected a jaguar-like look, replete with head-encompassing hardwood helmets (cuacalalatli) carved to be jaguar-like in appearance. Their spotted gaudy suits were worn over quilted cotton armor vests called ichcahuipilli, which provided a degree of additional protection to the Jaguar Warrior.
The Jaguar Warriors’ actual designation was cuauhocelotl. This was an elite warrior classification level that one earned by capturing at least four enemy warriors for use as sacrificial victims on the altar or as slaves. Aztec warfare valued capturing an enemy warrior over killing one outright in battle. Attaining Jaguar Warrior status had its privileges, such as being able to drink pulque (a fermented drink made from agave), and to have and keep concubines.
In battle, they were armed with atlatl (spear throwers), macuahuitl (obsidian-edged wooden clubs or broadswords), or tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spears). As Jaguar Warriors are iconic in Aztec warfare, I knew I needed to have some for my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™ game, especially for the supplement that I wrote for the Spanish Conquest I called Civilizations Collide. With all of their colorful suits and shields, so I was excited to paint some up and add to my troops that I have previously described in this blog.
From Badger Games, I had purchased a couple of 28mm scale metal Wargames Foundry blisters: AZ012 “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” and AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors”. In AZ012 there were 6 figures – 3 Aztec veterans, 2 Jaguar Warriors, and a Warrior Priest. I would need at least 5 for the basic unit in Feudal Patrol™ (that being a Warband), so I thought that AZ015 would round that out as that blister pack was supposed have six Jaguar Warriors. Surprise – after opening it I found that there were seven! Bad news, however – the AZ015 blister pack had only 3 weapons, those being all atlatls in hands that needed to be mounted to arms – and only two of the 7 included figures were so designed. The other 5 figures were thus without weapons.
I contacted Badger Games and they were fantastically accomodating. They agreed to send me a pack of 8 Outpost Wargames Services Jaguar Warriors (AZ5), as well as another pack that I’ll describe in a future post. These AZ5 Jaguar Warriors come in various poses. Of note Badger also removed the AZ015 SKU from their website and contacted Wargames Foundry to advise them that every pack of AZ015 that they had had been similarly packed incorrectly. That’s exceptional follow through on their part and I appreciated that.
The downside was was that I had to wait another week+ to get going again on the project. When the OWS pack arrived, I was happy to see that there were two weapons (8 macuahuitl and 8 tepoztopilli) available for each of the 8 AZ5 Jaguar Warriors. This meant that I had plenty of extra weapons to arm the AZ015 Jaguar Warriors! All I needed to do was convert two AZ015 figures to hold an atlatl by cutting off their hands and replace with one of the three atlatls that came with the pack.
Now I had not 8, but 21 figures for this project, which was definitely not my goal at the start! Still, with this many figures, and permutations of shield design, weaponry, and colors, I needed a plan. So I made one – as shown below. Also, the WF and OWS sculpts were different of course, and I wanted a variety of Jaguar Warrior tlahuitli and cuacalalatli both for ease of play and to be historically accurate. The best resources were this were the plates in my Osprey books and two Steven’s Balagan blog posts (THANK YOU STEVEN FOR SHARING!). Both are phenomenal and invaluable (especially for shield design examples) – here they are:
Pohl, John M. D. (1991). Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2001). Aztec Warrior, AD 1325-1521. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2005). Aztecs & Conquistadores. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
As far as my painting plan, I should mention that I have a numbering system for all of my figures for Civilizations Collide. This system will allow me to have a points-based menu (like a “take-out menu”) for the gamers. At the beginning of a game, they will be able to use the menu choose how to spend their available scenario points by choosing specific troops for their side by checking them off on a menu that I will provide. I have an Excel spreadsheet with the figure values and designations that I will use to make the menu. Also, I will print out a disc to glue under each figure’s base with that information as well. This, I hope, will make the gaming experience better and very easy.
The pictures below show my initial organizational plan for arming the figures – I did have another corresponding Excel plan (not shown) where I planned the base colors and the specific shield designs for each of the figures.
After I completed the plan, I mounted the figures in my usual way. I labeled the bottom of the washers under the figures with the figure number and I similarly labeled each of the specimen jars. I also organized the shields as shown below – plus I also had painted shields from previous projects available. I decided to first do their flesh and weapons, and then move on to do each figure in order and separately. This way I would gain experience (and hopefully improve) with painting the patterns on the tlahuitli and cuacalalatli, especially the jaguar-specific aspects. This approach did help me maintain focus on the figures. I ended up with fewer WIP pics, but this was a big varied project. Hell, most of these figures had not one – but two sets of eyes. It took about a month-and-a-half! Of course, the July 4th holiday weekend did keep me out of the painting mode – as did some golf.
Mounted for painting
Early painting of flesh
More early flesh painting
I did change my approach to the flesh painting a bit. Trying to get that right on dark flesh was a challenge. The list of paints I used was extensive given the breadth of the figures needs, but for flesh I mainly moved more to using Citadel “Darkoath Flesh” over a Vallejo “Sunny Skin base” with Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone” as highlights. I also experimented with Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”.
Below are some examples of mostly completed and unvarnished figures which were awaiting shields, flocking, and of course varnishing.
WF Aztec Warrior Priest with a macuahuitl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA4 with OWS tepoztopilli
WF Jaguar Warrior JA5 with atlatl
WF Jaguar Warrior JA8 with atlatl – this was a conversion
OWS Jaguar Warrior figures JA12 and JA13. The figures are the same pose, but I armed JA12 with a macuahuitl and JA13 with a tepoztopilli. Note that I also gave them both different painting schemes.
Painting of the figures was followed by my working on the shields. Using my plan I was able to finish them all after a few days and they are shown below with a ruler for scale.
I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.
Now comes the fun part – sharing the final products. Each of the figures is shown below – and I gave each blister a different photo background.
“Heroes of Tenochtitlan” (AZ012) Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)
Hopefully you enjoyed the pics and this post – and if you have feedback, a favorite among these, or a least favorite – positive feedback or devastating criticism – I’m up for all of the above.
With many conventions cancelled, and even gaming club get-togethers not happening, it may be a while before these Aztecs get into a fight. I guess that just leaves more time to complete them – and eventually some Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans as foes.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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”:
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…
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.
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,
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:
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:
I love the Tin Men:
And whatever these are – they look cool!
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?
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!
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!
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!
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
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors blisters
Cuautli’s Veteran Warriors blisters
Ixtlilxochitl veterans early flesh painting
Cuauhtli veterans early flesh paintin
May 17th progress
May 17th progress
May 29th progress
May 29th progress
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.
Mold line on face I missed
Same model, no facial mold line!
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.
I used a plate and poster tack to prime
Then I took each type and painted them separately on smaller plates.
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
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
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:
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?
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”