Sci-Fi/Pulp/Retro Diorama

This is a New Year’s Eve post from my Aussie buddy, IRO who can be found at https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/sci-fi-pulp-retro-diorama/ and thought I’d share it. He incorporated one of my creations (my Mark 1 Sphere Tank) into a wonderful retro sci-fi diorama. Very cool, and thank you so much IRO!

Hello all, Well it’s 11:09pm on New Years Eve and I’m typing out a blog haha, I know how to party! I have a nicely aged Scotch beside with some Bob …

Sci-Fi/Pulp/Retro Diorama

Mark’s Conquistador Contest – It’s On!

In any auto race, the signal to start is the waving of a flag. The one you see here is my making of Hernan Cortes’ banner of the Virgin Mary that the Conquistadores carried in Mesoamerica. It indeed will be carried by one of the soon-to-be-finished figures in the contest, so I thought it would be appropriate. Well, midnight passed last night and the Mark’s Conquistador Contest has officially started, and the flag is waved.

I have tabulated the list of entrants that you will see in the Excel chart below – sorted from earliest pick to the latest one.

You guys knew I’d have to have a spreadsheet!

I have listed the blog handles and the blogs of those who entered if you’d like to check them out. And you should if you do not know them. Click on their comments avatar to see them as they can be found in the comments section on the original contest post here. You can find most everyone on WordPress. However, a couple of entrants haven’t a blog to my knowledge (Leif Magnuson and Dave Wood), while Dave Stone is on blogger, and Buck has his own website. Buck is also on the HAWKS site with his fellow HAWKS Greg and Chris (cjpalmer), though Greg also has a WordPress site.

The contest is on!

We have 18 entrants. The average of the dates chosen was March 24th, 2021. The dates have a 101 day range, with Mike at despartaferres picking the earliest (February 8th) and Roger at Rantings From the Wargame Table playing the long game at May 2oth. The good news is that there will be no ties – as all dates are different and none are equidistant from the average.

I am making good progress and will be posting about that shortly. I know that many of the miniatures will take me longer to paint, and some much less. And I do have an airbrush…at this point, it’s anyone’s game. So stay tuned! Thanks to all who entered and good luck!

As a reminder for what the prize choices are for the three top winners:

2020 Hobby, Gaming, and Blogging Roundup

2020 was – HOPEFULLY – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As we all did, I had highs and lows on the personal side of life, the hobby side of life, and the golf side and others.

First, my deep thanks for all of you who regularly follow this blog and share your feedback with me. My thanks also to those whose blogs I follow. Your work inspires me.

As readers of this blog know, I am currently knee-deep in finishing up my forces for Feudal PatrolTM games. But I did set some goals back in January 2020 – so here I’d like to examine and share how I did – or did not do – versus those benchmarks, how my production was in 2020, how the blog did, and my personal highs and lows. I’ll also set some 2021 goals for myself. This is really to hold myself accountable here – and please know I’m open to any and all feedback.

How did I do versus my 2020 goals?

These are the goals I set for myself and how I did:

Games:

  1. Run convention games at TotalCon, HAVOC, HUZZAH, BARRAGE, and the Fort Devens Game Day (and a few more maybe)

I did get to run four games (at the time it felt like too many) at TotalCon before the pandemic hit – two were Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games – “Space Cowboys versus Giant Zombie Cosmonauts” and Attack of the Warbots with my mostly OOP collections from Archive Miniatures, Mega Miniatures, War Games Supply Dump (and my own creations).  The other two were scenarios for What a Tanker© that I have created and discussed previously in this blog: Battle of France May-June 1940 and Normandy Breakout!. I also ran one Aztec game virtually for Feudal PatrolTM using my “Civilizations Collide” supplement. The rest of the conventions never had a chance.

2. Grow the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club with new members and new GM’s

We had two gaming sessions before the pandemic – and we did add more members.

3. Support the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge 

Well, that only happened until the pandemic.

Models

  1. Build a suitable force of French and German tanks for the Battle of France scenario for 80th anniversary of this event.

I did accomplish this but did not get to run anything for the 80th in May-June. I did get to run the game at TotalCon.

2. Build 2 or more new platoons for retro sci-fi games of Combat PatrolTM

Did not happen.

3. Start the Nomonhan project (or Khalkhin Gol).

Did not happen – but will eventually.

Other:

  1. Complete a supplement for Feudal PatrolTM for Mesoamerican warfare (Aztecs, etc).

Yes – this was a big part of my February and March. Civilizations Collide was published on the Sally 4th website and Buck Surdu’s website as free downloads. This is the accomplishment in 2020 of which I am most proud.

2. Be productive, but never sacrifice quality

Well, you dear reader can be the judge of that. I did paint 181 figures this year versus 153 in 2019. My project total was only 403 versus 775 in 2019, but I did a lot of scratch-building numerous game aids (410 to be exact while I only did 146 in 2020), so my production was different. Still, almost 181 figures is a lot!

My 2020 production summary.

3. Grow the blog and find new ones to follow!

I definitely did both of these. As for the blog, it grew by about 12% in terms of views and visitors, and my followers are up too. My posts were fewer by five – so that is something I need to work on.

4. Entertain my audience!

I think so – again – you are the judge of this, not me!

Golf

  1. Get my handicap below 14 (if I have enough non-gaming time!)

I did not achieve this. As my golf summary page shows, I only got down to 17.4. I was able to achieve a personal goal in that I got my first eagle in June!

Personal Highs for 2020

  1. Serving my Town (East Brookfield, MA) as the elected Board of Health Chairman during the pandemic. Duty called.
  2. Getting my supplement for Feudal PatrolTM published, Civilizations Collide.
  3. Seeing my Mark 1 Sphere Tank brilliantly displayed (just yesterday!) on IRO’s blog.
  4. Getting the eagle.
  5. Getting interviewed on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.

Personal Lows for 2020

  1. Losing my Dad in February. This was one month before the pandemic really hit, so at least he did not die alone. Miss him terribly.
  2. COVID-19 Pandemic, aka the China Virus. ’nuff said.

My goals for 2021

Well, its time to set my goals for 2021.

  1. Paint 250 figures or more.
  2. Complete the figures and terrain for Civilizations Collide.
  3. Complete my figures for Wars of Ozz, ok at least 40 of them.
  4. Paint up a platoon from Wargames Supply Dump for Combat Patrol™ .
  5. Attend and run games at conventions or club nights or both, if possible – to include Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games, What a Tanker©  Battle of France May-June 1940, and Aztec games (live or virtually) for Feudal PatrolTM using my “Civilizations Collide” supplement.
  6. Get my golf handicap down below 15.
  7. Play golf (in season) at least twice a week.
  8. Make between 30 and 36 blog posts of value and quality.
  9. Get back on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.
  10. Build a new garage. Well, pay someone to do that.

Again, thanks to all who make the time to read this blog – Happy New Year!

Lastly, here follows a detailed list of the 2020 production!

A list of my 2020 production

I do keep a running tally of my production:

2020 Total Miniatures & Projects to Date: 403

  • 181 figures painted
  • 0 figures cast
  • 58 figures assembled
  • 0 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 15 terrain pieces painted
  • 3 figure conversions
  • 0 creation or component sculpted or scratch-built
  • 0 molds made
  • 146 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

January: 34 projects

  • Figures painted (9):
    • 9 French tanks/armored cars painted for What a Tanker© for France 1940
      • 3 AMC 35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory (#CD606)
      • 1 Char D1/D2 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FFV10)
      • 1 FT-17 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Peter Pig (#PP252)
      • 1 Panhard 178 armored car (15mm/1:100 scale), from Peter Pig (#PP25)
      • 2 Panhard 178 armored car (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FAC01)
      • 1 R40 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FFV13)
  • Figures assembled (14):
    • 3 French tanks/armored cars assembled for What a Tanker© in France 1940
      • 2 Panhard 178 armored car (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FAC01)
      • 1 R40 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FFV13)
    • 11 German tanks/armored cars assembled for What a Tanker© in France 1940
      • 2 Panzer 35(t) tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#GFV28)
      • 2 Sd.Kfz. 231 (6-rad) armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#GE320)
      • 2 Panzer 38(t) tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#GE022)
      • 5 Panzer IV tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Zvezda (via The Plastic Soldier Company (#6151)
        • 3 built as Panzer IVB
        • 2 built as Panzer IVD
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (11):
    • 11 dashboards built for French 1940 tanks in What a Tanker© games
      • 2 Panzer IVA dashboards
      • 3 AMC 35 dashboards
      • 1 Char D2 dashboard
      • 1 FT-17 tank dashboard
      • 3 Panhard 178 armored car dashboards
      • 1 R40 tank dashboard
    • 6 unit data cards made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games
    • 3 vehicle data cards made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games
    • 3 vehicle data cards updated for my Mark 1 Sphere tanks use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games
    • 34 casualty cards made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi games

February: 126 projects

  • Figures painted (11):
    • 11 German tanks painted for What a Tanker© for France 1940
      • 2 Panzer 35(t) tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#GFV28)
      • 2 Sd.Kfz. 231 (6-rad) armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#GE320)
      • 2 Panzer 38(t) tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#GE022)
      • 5 Panzer IV tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Zvezda (via The Plastic Soldier Company (#6151)
        • 3 built as Panzer IVB
        • 2 built as Panzer IVD
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (115):
    • 11 dashboards built for German 1940 tanks in What a Tanker© games
      • 2 Panzer 35(t) tank dashboards
      • 2 Sd.Kfz. 231 (6-rad) armored car dashboards
      • 2 Panzer 38(t) tank dashboards
      • 3 Panzer IVB dashboards
      • 2 Panzer IVD dashboards
    • 104 “Bonus Attack Cards” built for What a Tanker© games
      • 50 German cards
        • 16 Infantry Assault cards
        • 6 37 mm anti-tank gun cards
        • 3 88 mm anti-tank gun cards
        • 7 Artillery HE Support cards
        • 10 Air Support cards
        • 3 Artillery Smoke Support Cards
        • 2 Radio problem cards
        • 2 Quick Repair cards
        • 1 Heinz Guderian Arrives! card
      • 54 French cards
        • 20 Infantry Assault cards
        • 7 25 mm anti-tank gun cards
        • 4 47 mm anti-tank gun cards
        • 10 Artillery HE Support cards
        • 4 Artillery Smoke Support Cards
        • 2 Radio problem cards
        • 2 Quick Repair cards
        • 1 Charles de Gaulle Arrives! card

March: 0 projects

I did a lot of research in March and wrote Civilizations Collide, a supplement for the upcoming Feudal Patrol™ card-based wargaming system from Buck Surdu.  The supplement covers the Spanish Conquest, to include the Conquistadores, the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance, Aztecs of the Aztec-Chichimec Alliance, the Maya, and the Inca.  I cannot quantitate this as a hobby project, but it certainly was one!

April: 19 projects

May: 36 projects

June: 2 projects

  • Figures converted (2):

July: 21 projects

  • Figures painted (21):
    • 3 Aztec Veteran Warrior figures painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry (#AZ012 Heroes of Tenochtitlan)
    • 2 Aztec Jaguar Warrior figures painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry (#AZ012 Heroes of Tenochtitlan)
    • 1 Aztec Warrior Priest figure painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry (#AZ012 Heroes of Tenochtitlan)
    • 7 Aztec Jaguar Warrior figures painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry (#AZ015 Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors)
    • 8 Aztec Jaguar Warrior figures painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#AZ5 Jaguar Warriors)

August: 6 projects

  • Figures painted (3):
    • 2 Aztec Command figures painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#AZG001 General as Snake Woman Priestess w/Drummer)
      • 1 Snake Woman General
      • 1 Drummer
    • 1 Folder Bot 3000 figure painted for Combat Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Armorcast Terraform Terrain Ltd (#Folder Bot 3000)
  • Figures assembled (3):
    • 2 Aztec Command figures assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#AZG001 General as Snake Woman Priestess w/Drummer)
      • 1 Snake Woman General
      • 1 Drummer
    • 1 Folder Bot 3000 figure (aka Bender) assembled for Combat Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Armorcast Terraform Terrain Ltd (#Folder Bot 3000)

September: 28 projects

  • Figures painted (8):
    • 8 Tlaxcalan Archers painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX4 Tlaxcalan Archers)
  • Game pieces made (20):
    • 20 Skull tokens assembled for Feudal Patrol™

October: 89 projects

  • Figures painted (42):
    • 8 Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX2 Tlaxcalan Novices in Padded Vests)
    • 8 Tlaxcalan Elite Warriors painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX3b Elite Warriors in Feather Costume)
    • 1 Tlaxcalan Captain painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
    • 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
    • 6 Aztec Warrior Priests painted as Tlaxcalans for Feudal Patrol™ (25mm scale), from Ral Partha’s 1200 A.D. line, circa 1988 (#42-302 Aztec Warrior Priests)
    • 18 Aztec Novice Warriors painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry  Aztecs line (12 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 6 from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
  • Figures assembled (32):
    • 8 Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX2 Tlaxcalan Novices in Padded Vests)
    • 8 Tlaxcalan Elite Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX3b Elite Warriors in Feather Costume)
    • 1 Tlaxcalan Captain assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
    • 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
    • 6 Aztec Warrior Priests assembled as Tlaxcalans for Feudal Patrol™ (25mm scale), from Ral Partha’s 1200 A.D. line, circa 1988 (#42-302 Aztec Warrior Priests)
    • 8 Aztec Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry  Aztecs line (6 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 2  from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
  • Terrain pieces painted (15):
    • 15 cacti/desert bushes painted, weathered, and flocked (from JTT Scenery Products SKU #441980)

November: 24 projects

December: 18 projects

Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers!

Welcome to Mark’s Conquistador Contest – a FREE chance for you to join me on my next part of my journey to field troops for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest game supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide” – AND to have a chance to win – yes WIN – some free miniatures! Read on!

I have participated in a few painting challenges from others over the years – and those are great fun. But I am currently so desirous of seeing my Conquistadores painted up and ready for gaming that I will not stop until they are done and game-ready to my standards (such as those are). So I won’t be joining any challenges (unless they dovetail with me finishing my Conquistadores). However, I thought of another way to get you involved on this project other than just reading this blog. What about having my readers compete and guess the date that I’ll actually finish the Conquistadores? And what about offering actual prizes just to make it interesting? That’s exactly the genesis of Mark’s Conquistador Contest.

I have filed, washed, and partially based the force. I have not yet primed anything, and expect to start that on December 15th. I decided that I wanted to get all my filing of mold lines and washing (yes I wash all my figures before painting no matter what they are made of) done, do a massive priming session, and paint away. How long will this take – YOU get to guess.

My goal is to have some fun, and reward my followers and share some stuff that I enjoy. Secondly, it’s to get more followers and to grow the community. Thirdly, it’s to have fun (yes that’s fun twice). I do not currently monetize my blog, and I’m not looking to anytime soon by the way. Here are the rules:

Rules of Mark’s Conquistador Contest:

To enter and to win:

  1. You must be an email or WordPress follower of my blog.
  2. You must pick a date (day, month, and year) that I will finish the Conquistador miniatures shown here in this post.  Finishing means, to me, that I am ready for the figures to be shown on my blog and used in a game.  That is my call!
  3. You must let me know that you want in on the contest by midnight EST (US East Coast time) on January 2nd, 2021.  You do this by posting a comment that “you are in” here on this blog post in the comments section with the date information requested above in (2).
  4. Only one entry allowed per follower except as described in (5) below.
  5. If you get another person to follow my blog, you can earn another entry!  For each new follower that credits you as a referrer, you can get another entry.  All that person needs to do is comment on this post as in (3) above stating that he or she is “in” and who the referrer is.  The referrer can then reply to that comment with an additional entry date.
  6. Winners will be whoever is closest to the date I announce as the “completion date”.  That can be earlier or later – for example picking a date that is one day before is as good as if it’s one day after.  As there are multiple prizes, 1st place gets first choice, then 2nd, then third.   If two people pick the same date, ties will be broken by who submitted the date first.  I reserve the right to add more prizes! 
  7. I also reserve the right to be the final judge on the contest – somebody’s gotta do that. When I finish, I will announce the winners.

So as for prizes, they will be metal miniatures – mostly old and vintage lead – and in original packaging. Great stuff I love but may not be able to paint soon – and which deserve a home. And I will pay to ship them to the winners (including the US, UK, Australia – as long as I don’t need to hit the lottery for shipping)! So here are the current three prizes (and I may add more):

Three vintage Ral Partha Aztec Blisters (25mm)
Three Minifig blisters for the English Civil War (15mm)
Two Vintage Ral Partha blisters from their colonials collection (25mm)

Again, depending on participation and interest – I may add more. Hell, even if you win and don’t have a plan for them, these could be used as trade, or you could just tell me to reward the next player as victory is enough for you?

Your next questions should be – “what exactly is Mark trying to paint?” and “how fast is he?”. For the second question, just check out my pages that show my previous projects. For example, 2020 is here, and 2019 is here, but I list all my projects from 2016 onward under the “Miniatures and Projects” dropdown. This menu lets me track all I have done – and how, and can give you an idea. There is a bit more I have to do here than just painting – there is some assembly too. Here are the Conquistador subjects of my quest and this contest below:

Wargames Foundry SB012 “Audacious Arquebusiers” – 6 figures
Wargames Foundry SB014 “Merciless Adventurers” – 6 figures – all with arquebuses.
Eureka Miniatures 100CON04 “Crossbowmen” – 5 figures. Crossbows are separate and shown below.
Eureka Miniatures 100CON06 “Officer” and an unknown bonus officer that they gave me – 2 figures
Outpost Wargames Services CONC1 “Conquistador Foot Command” – 4 figures. There is a bannerman with no banner that I will make a standard for, and a few shields you’ll see below.
Outpost Wargames Services CONS06 “Wardogs” – 8 figures. This is the first group of war hounds I have.
Eureka Miniatures 100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” – 8 figures. This is the second group of war hounds I have. I’m going to make the handler a pikeman as in my game the dogs can be added to any figure for points – I have no need for a handler alone.
Wargames Foundry SB015 “Swaggering Swordsmen” – 6 figures – all with shields shown separately.
Wargames Foundry SB016 “Brutal Sword and Buckler Men” – 6 figures – all with shields shown separately.
Wargames Foundry SB017 “Bold Bladesmen” – 6 figures – all with shields shown separately.
Outpost Wargames Services CON001 “Sword and Buckler Men” – 8 figures. There are at least 6 shields I’ll do here – maybe 8 – not sure yet as two of the figures have two-handed broadswords.
Outpost Wargames Services CON5 “Conquistador Cavalry in light armour 1” – 8 figures (4 riders and 4 horses). There are also shields. I made two armed with lancers and two with swords. Note my rigging for painting riders – and yes those are screws with washers on old paint bottles.
Outpost Wargames Services CON6 “Conquistador Cavalry in full armour” – 8 figures (4 riders and 4 horses). There are also shields. I made two armed with lancers and two with swords. Note my rigging for painting riders – and yes those are screws on bottles again.
Eureka Miniatures 100ANMo5 “Moving Horses” – 8 figures. Obviously not moving, but de-based and mounted to be used as hacked up and downed horses that could be used as cover or block movement.
All the previously alluded-to shields for the cavalry and infantry, as well as crossbows, a banner pole, and a pike.
Outpost Wargames Services CONA1 “Falconet and Crew” – 3 figures (2 crew and 1 falconet (small cannon)). I’ll paint parts here before assembling the falconet.

If you’re counting (and that helps) that’s 89 figures – if you count each cavalry as two figures (horse and rider). I used a lot of poster tack and bottles as you see all of them collected here with some of my painting guide resources.

I hope that you enter and wish you the best of luck! Referrers always welcome – just need to follow the rules and importantly be one of my blog followers. Hell, I need the luck too – this is a lot of lead!

Stay tuned for updates as I finish pieces of this project – and I really hope that you find this fun. I’ll leave a synopsis as usual like below. Stay safe!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested in that sort of thing:

Posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers! (this post)
  2. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  3. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  4. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  5. Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol™ – plus a Feudal Patrol™ review!
  6. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  7. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  8. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  9. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  10. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  11. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  12. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  13. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  14. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  15. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  16. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures completed to date for this project: 141 figures:  109 Aztecs, 32 Tlaxcalans, 0 Spanish Conquistadores

Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol – plus a Feudal Patrol review!

I have always wanted to be part of a putting together rules for a tabletop wargame. Now, I can officially say that I can check off that box on my life’s “To-Do” list – at least in a smallish way.

Feudal Patrol™ – Buck Surdu’s rules for “Skirmish Miniature Gaming in the Ancient, Medieval, and Fantasy Periods” is now available commercially. In the US, it can be bought from On Military Matters website here.  It is also being sold in the US by Noble Knight Games website here. In the UK, it is being sold by Sally 4th on their website here.

It is a fantastic skirmish system, similar to his Combat Patrol -WWII™ and Albedo Combat Patrol™ systems. Unlike many other games, the Combat Patrol family has eliminated the clutter of multiple charts and markers with the use of specialized playing card decks. The decks in each game enable players to resolve movement, melee, missile fire, morale, cover protection, and more all from a single 50 card deck. Feudal Patrol is appropriate for periods when melee dominated warfare instead of firepower – so the 16th Century and earlier, as well as being adaptable for fantasy gaming. To be clear, I am not totally unbiased. I have been friends with Buck for nearly 40 years since our cadet days at West Point, and I did participate in several playtests of these rules and helped as I could.

As for a good review of Feudal Patrol by a more neutral party, there is a fine one on the BoardGameGeek website by Scouter (Brian Ivers) that you can see here. You can see that this is a game worth checking out. Here’s a snippet from the review:

Overall an Excellent effort by Buck and his band of Tabletop warriors. The cards and rules were purchased by me under a pre order program through On Military Matters. The rules were produced by Sally4th, a wonderful company out of the UK. Noble Knight games are also a US conduit. The amount of support available for this product is excellent, this can be found on both Buck Surdus web site as well as Sally4th. And Google Groups IO page. Buck has produced an excellent You Tube video introduction to Feudal Patrol. https://youtu.be/SlpLbMdgVv8

I highly recommend this rule set.
Brian Ivers.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/318641/feudal-patrol/ratings
My official copy of the rules arrived in early November! The book looks great, and the layout inside is equally nice.
The inside cover. Thanks for the shout out Buck! BTW, the “Ma’k” is a nod by Buck to my Massachusetts accent that I will never lose.

Buck asked me if I was interested in writing a supplement for the rules. I was very interested and thought it would be a fine opportunity to check the box I wrote of above. I also wanted to develop a skirmish game for the Spanish Conquest as the period and the garb of the period was fascinating to me. So I agreed, and did a lot of research on the period, and developed my supplement to Feudal Patrol™ that I called “Civilizations Collide”. That supplement is a FREE download – and I hope all who read this will download it and please take a look (after all it’s free! – did I mention that?). Plus it has a lot of pics of the miniatures that I have painted up (and more will come in this blog of course!

A sneak peek!

Where can you get it?

Civilizations Collide is available for download on Sally 4th’s website here or the Feudal Patrol website here.

As readers of this blog know, I have been also actively painting figures for the period from many companies. You may want to get started – so as a help, here is my list of what I have found available:

  1. Wargames Foundry (I get them in the US here from Badger Games but Foundry’s own UK website is here) – 28mm
  2. Outpost Wargames Services (I get them in the US here from Badger Games but OWS’s UK website is here – 28mm
  3. Eureka Miniatures (US site is here, Eureka Australian website is here) – 28mm
  4. Tin Soldiers UK (I get them in the US from Silver Eagle Wargames here, UK website is here) – 25mm
  5. Naismith and Roundway sells some (I have not bought any yet) here – 25mm
  6. Even the old Ral Partha (which I have), now sold by Iron Winds Metals, has some here – 25mm

All of these are still commercially available. I do prefer the 28mm over the 25mm, but I do use both

Thanks for checking this out and a real big thank you if you downloaded the supplement! More to come!

Miscellaneous details and references for those interested in that sort of thing:

Posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Civilizations Collide – The Wars of the Aztecs, the Inca, the Maya, and the Conquistadores is now available as a FREE Download for Feudal Patrol™ – plus a Feudal Patrol™ review! (this post)
  2. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  3. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  4. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  5. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  6. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  7. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  8. A June and July Jaguar Warrior Frenzy (plus some Aztec Veterans and a Warrior Priest to Boot) – 3 Aztec Veteran Warriors, 17 Jaguar Warriors, 1 Aztec Warrior Priest
  9. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  10. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  11. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  12. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors
I ponder life with poor Franco the unlucky Conquistador

Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!

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 Feudal Patrol™ 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 attackers would split their forces equally between Zones #1 and #2, which would also be where they would need to drag their captives.

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.

The score sheet and possible points available for success for each side.

 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.

This view is from the defenders’ side. The defenders’ walled village is in the middle on the right and served as the point for their captives to be collected for sacrifice/slavery.

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.

At this point, the defenders have triumphed by great play.

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:

Great fun group!

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 Feudal Patrol™ 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 Feudal Patrol™ – its a great and easy card-based system that is really a great step forward.

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!

Views From My Windows – Sort of…

Greetings from the Massachusetts lock down!  I hope all of you are safe and that soon life will be returning back to normal for us all.  If you have lost a loved one, a friend, or a job, or just been stressed out, my thoughts and prayers with all of you.  This will eventually pass.

I have not been doing much on the blogging front except trying to keep up with others’ posts.  At the beginning of April, the projections for death in the US were for 100,000 to 200,000 if we were lucky and did everything correctly in terms of mitigation.  Frankly, that floored me and I went into a bit of a focus on the news, keeping up with my family (Mom and daughter/granddaughter).  My Mom is on her own, and I worry about her.  My daughter lives nearby and has taken walks with our 3 year-old granddaughter so we have gotten at least to see them.  It kills us not to hug them both, but as my daughter works in a cancer radiation treatment clinic at a hospital in Worcester, we have painfully practiced “social distancing” during these brief but welcome visits.  Of course there is communication via phone and Facetime, but it’s not the same.

The death toll has been mercifully less, but still very bad.  Here in the US, as of this writing there have been over 48,000 US deaths, and approaching a million cases.  In Massachusetts the surge/peak is coming up – and we have had 42,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths.  I know that all of you are dealing with this and it’s horrible.  I have some strong opinions on this, but I don’t want to get too political on my blog.  My thoughts could be summarized by the article here.

My wife has been home on paid leave, but who know what will happen on this front.  I have still been looking for a job, but with millions of Americans out of work and the understandable difficulties with interviewing – I have been staying home.  I did fly to Virginia on March 9-10 for a face-to-face interview – which was an eerie experience.  By the end of the week, everything was shutting down and we were in lockdown.  And then the job did not come through.

Needless to say, tabletop wargaming is at a halt – and golf is impossible as all the courses are closed as nonessential.

I kept busy researching and working on a supplement for Buck Surdu’s upcoming game of Feudal Patrol™ – basically a new game similar to his Combat Patrol™ WWII card-based gaming system.  It will cover the pike and shot era and earlier.  My project was based on the Spanish Conquest of the 15th Century – so Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Tlaxcalans, Mixtec/Zapotecs, and of course Conquistadores.  This has been on my “bucket list” – and I will share some more of that in future posts – but it did consume a lot of time (which I had to spare).  I started painting Aztecs as well – but more on that later as well.

By the way, Buck redesigned his website – and it is an incredible free resource for unit organization and equipment for WWII.  Here is an example.

Also, besides watching the news and the business channel, I watched TV, played cards (a rummy type game) with my wife, and did the grocery and pharmacy shopping.  Thankfully I have a respirator that I use when I airbrush – so I wore that on these infrequent trips out of the house.  It reminded me of my Army days with the old M17 gas mask.

I have a treadmill, and that helps with exercise too.

Earlier this month maenoferren22 at Bogenwald posted a challenge to share the view out the front window.  I’ve enjoyed looking at others – so I thought I’d join in.  It took a bit longer for me to get involved – as we are in early spring and it’s been cold and rainy.  So. here’s some shots of my East Brookfield, MA home from inside and outside.

View 1 looking at porch
The front of our home – daffodils are out and grass is just turning green.

View 1 porch
A look from the front porch towards our church across the street (St. John the Baptist).  We last were able to attend on March 15th – and since then (including Easter) – we have watched the Bishop of Worcester’s Masses on TV.

View 2 house
The other side of the house.  It’s a “Dutch Colonial” and probably dates to the 1930’s or 1940’s.

View 3 house
Right side of the house.

View 4 house pond
The backyard – my garage (which is not great) on the right.  The pond in the back has a nice view – and a lousy name “Mud Pond”.  There is a beaver lodge in it – and I have seen many Great Blue Herons hunting here.  I have seen a bald eagle as well, and many hawks and falcons.  There are raccoons, bobcats, snakes, turtles, and bears as well.

View 5 pond
A little closer view of the yard and pond.

View 6 house
A reverse view from the pond towards the house.

View 7 porch
View from the back porch.

View 8 upstairs window
The view from the upstairs bathroom window.

That’s it.  Oh yeah, I do also listen to a couple of podcasts.  Many of you know IRO (imperialrebelork).  Along with his buddy Big Waz in Australia – he has The Fly on The Wall Podcast.  He also just started a nice hobby podcast named, Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.  I enjoy both – and TFOTW has been around a year now.  Helps to get over the pandemic a little bit.

Here is my little promotion pic, with my Australian-descended friend, Caesar (who is 26 years old now).

FOTW me and Caesar

Stay safe and more to come, I’m back!