For those of you who are modelers and or gamers, you know the feelings about your hobby work – to do a good job recreating a scene, a vehicle, terrain, or just a figure such that others enjoy it. I put this blog in the same category. I understand that for better or for worse, I am putting myself out there and my creativity to be judged up or down.
This blog post will be a bit different in that its admittedly somewhat self-indulgent. I am unsure as to how it will be received – but I hope that you enjoy it and that you can appreciate what this was for me and why I was doing this last weekend.
Last Saturday, the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge, MA, sponsored a road trip to the American Heritage Museum in Hudson, MA. I have posted about this museum last year (you can read about it here). It’s really great. I unfortunately also signed up for a golf tournament an hour away and was disappointed in my planning. I was however able to leave the tournament (my team lost by one stroke) after I was done and drive to meet the others (about 10 of us) at the museum. And I brought two “friends”…
Followers of this blog know that I have been somewhat tank-heavy in hobby activities and gaming since last fall. I thought that it would be cool to have the real Panther at the museum meet my 15mm/1:100 scale Panther. And as my late grandfather Marcus C. Delaney drove an M24 Chaffee light tank in WWII, I wanted to hook up one of my M24’s with a real one too.
I just thought it would be a cool thing to do – and to give my models a connection to the real deal. Of course, you can be the judge.
First stop was the Panther.
Then I moved over to the M24 Chaffee.
It felt good to do this, and I’m glad I did. Now when these are in a game, I can say that they have been with the real thing, and in actual contact.
Would you do this? Let me know in the comments section, and thanks for looking!
The 10th running of the HUZZAH! wargaming convention was held last month from May 17th-19th in Portland, Maine. It was ably run by the Maine Historical Wargamers Association. There were a lot of games, including some run by friends from both the Maryland -based H.A.W.K.’s (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge (Massachusetts). Several members of the Mass Pikemen were also in attendance. I missed the sign up to run a game, but I was nevertheless happy to make the trek to Maine, attend and play.
As I am catching up on my blogging, and as I did not get a chance to take many pictures of games that I was not involved in, this post will focus on the five games that I did participate in at the convention. It will hopefully give a flavor of the games, and my experience – however slim compared with all the events that were run there.
Game 1 – “The Enchanted Valley; Rules – Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder
The first game was run by Eric Schlegel from the H.A.W.K.’s. The scenario was “The Enchanted Valley” – a fantasy game in which you had a small squad, and you had to battle GM-run bad guys for treasure and points. In my case, I had a squad of halflings (hobbits), and the figures were old Grenadier ones from the 1980’s. I spent the game battling giant armed frogs and goblins, while other players were similarly battling other creatures. The rules were Blood & Swash/Thunder & Plunder written by two friends of mine, Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer, and were the basis for their later set of rules – G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. You can read about these and other rules here (just scroll down).
I fared OK, but did not come out on top. I think that there were close to 8 or 9 players. I think that Eric and Vickie ran the game well and it was quite fun.
Game 2 – “Mortwald Under Siege: Zero Hour”; Rules – Warhammer 40K
Many of you who follow this blog are avid 40K players and GW miniature painters. The minis that you assemble, convert, and paint are truly a sight to see. Additionally, the terrain is very eye-catching. Of course, I missed that whole era/genre of wargaming when it launched and as it grew. I wanted to give this 40K game a shot, and I will likely give the game another shot at some time in the future. But before I go on, I want to say that the following is not an attack on anyone who loves 40K – it’s just my experience with it at the HUZZAH! convention.
It was the absolute worst gaming experience that I have ever had. Sorry, but it was.
The terrain was gorgeous, and the figures were well-painted. The game scenario, unfortunately, had no story or reason as to why anything was there in terms of terrain or figures. There were two tables next to each other, and mine had several newbies and some experienced players. A couple of the GM’s were subbing (and admirably trying I will say) for another GM who could not attend. But hurting their efforts was the fact that there were hardly any cheat sheets or charts available, and those that were were microscopic in font size. Much of the game was spent figuring out the stats of the different space marine factions by either looking at the rule books or some players using a GW app on their iPads or iPhones.
The players on my side with whom I played also had a similarly negative experience. What I remember about the game was that a large number of Plague Marines moved in, and over us (whoever we were – the figs were blue and some kind of space marine) with seemingly no way of effectively stopping them. I don’t remember many strategic of tactical gaming choices we made except to move and take up defensive positions and try to shoot. Was it balanced or play tested? Who knows. My memory of the game includes spending a lot of time looking at other people consulting rule books and devices, interspersed with being overrun by gloppy plague marines. Oh yeah, there was the conversations on my side with teammates asking WTF multiple times. I was told by someone I trust that this game was not typical – and that perhaps Kill Team is better. Again, I’ll keep an open mind, but for beginners this game was definitely was not! I also want the GM’s to know that we did not hold the experience against them at all – at least I did not. It’s not easy to be a GM.
One of the two tables – not the one I played on.
Just to be clear again, I follow several blogs whose authors do a great job on GW stuff. I mainly tried to play because I have been inspired by their projects. If you want to see some of their excellent painting and conversions of GW stuff, check out any of the following sites:
These guys give me hope to try 40K again…sometime. This game finished off Friday at HUZZAH! for me.
Game 3 – “Clash at Palmer’s Island, Chesapeake Bay 1637”; Rules – Feudal Patrol™ (as of yet unpublished)
Duncan Adams of the H.A.W.K.’s ran this scenario on Saturday morning. It featured Marylanders (my side) contesting the “illegal” occupation of Palmer’s Island by Virginians and some Indian allies. The rules used were Buck Surdu’s soon to be published Feudal Patrol™, a card-based system similar to Combat Patrol™, but for eras/genres with more swords and arrows and matchlocks than modern warfare. As a huge fan of Combat Patrol™, I was really looking forward to trying the system. Here, it was a skirmish action.
The game went very well, with the players grasping the game’s concepts very quickly. Also, I liked the changes on the cards for melee and missile weapons. Our team’s matchlocks (and troop maneuver) held the day with a major victory.
Game 4 – “Battle of Hannut” with 28 mm tanks; Rules – What a Tanker
Interestingly, Christopher had a few changes he made for the game. First, for activation, he used a card-based system. Second, he had everyone roll all of their Command Dice at the same time at the beginning of the turn. Lastly, he allowed you to turn in all your dice for one you wanted if your roll was bad. The card system was interesting, but really not too different than rolling dice, except that “banking” a six from the previous turn got you an additional card for activation that could be better than what you would have gotten. I’m not sure I like all players rolling all the Command Dice at the beginning – it allows you to see what your adversary can do before you take your turn. You also get to choose which Command Dice you lose if you take damage. The house rule on converting all your dice into one desired action was interesting, but I would not add that as it helps damaged tanks too much. It was different, but consistent for all players.
My SOMUA moved up quickly and was the target for no less than four German Panzers. My armor absorbed the hits, but eventually my tank was knocked out – with the crew surviving. I respawned as a new SOMUA, and rammed a Panzerjager 1. The game ended there. We achieved a minor victory for the French. Thanks to Christopher for running a superb and fun game.
Game 5 – “Test of Honour Returns to Hanghai”; Rules – Test of Honour
The last game for Saturday was “Test of Honor Returns to Hanghai” using Mike Paine’s wonderful and extensive Hanghai tabletop. Ted Salonich and Ryan MacRae split GM responsibilities as Chris Rett was unable to attend. They did a marvelous job running the Test of Honour rules by Grey for Now Games.
I also finally got to game with Mike Paine, a true legend in the New England gaming community. We were teams of three, and Mike faced off with us. We had a back and forth, but in the last couple of turns we were beaten back soundly.
Thanks again to Ted and Ryan for running a fun game.
Game 6 – “Returning to Hanghai”; Rules – Mike Paine’s home brew rules
On Sunday morning, I had the chance to finally try Mike Paine’s Hanghai game. It is a 1920’s pulp game, and it is a big hit at a convention with both young and old. It was pretty much the same table as what we played Saturday night, but there were ships and planes and many other cool things all scattered everywhere. The amount of work that went into the table is staggering. You have to see it to appreciate it.
I took a naval crew in a gunboat – and I had a submarine. My leader was Captain Nemo. The goal of the game was to grab treasures and key items. I was playing next to Eric Schlegel, and I decided to try to eliminate the competition, which led to counter-fire, with Eric getting the better of the exchange. I ended up with only a submarine and one sailor, so with a long drive back home, I surrendered my sub to Eric with Mike Paine’s blessing.
Truly an epic game to try! Thanks to Mike Paine!
This was my first HUZZAH! but hopefully not my last. By my count there were 117 games over the three day weekend, so this is a very small sample. Thanks to the folks of the Maine Historical Wargamers Association for running a classy convention!
If you have any thoughts or feedback, please let me know below. Thanks for looking!
My challenge was that I really did not have enough historically-appropriate tanks and tank destroyers for such a scenario. I did have 9 plastic British Shermans and 2 Fireflies that I bought on eBay that were well-painted. I also had 2 resin Shermans and 2 resin Stuarts that I got from a guy who makes his own models and sells them already painted. The British stuff came with a bunch of infantry that I sold, so the nice plastic British armor ended up costing me net only $1.40 each! The US tanks were OK for the tabletop, and for the price (about $5-6 as I remember), a relative bargain – but I wanted better. I also had no Germans for that theater, so that is part 2 of the project. For this part, I am focused on five US vehicles. Together, I will have enough to make a joint US/UK force.
Three of the five vehicles came from Battlefront and were metal and resin and some plastic: one M3A1 Stuart (#US003); one M4A2 Sherman (#US045); and one M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (#US102). The other two were M24 Chaffee tanks that did not make it to D-Day, but replaced Stuarts starting in the latter part of 1944. These two were 3D printed models from somebody on eBay – and not great detail-wise. But, the M24 was the tank my grandfather, Marcus C. Delaney, drove in Europe during WWII, so I thought I’d work on those at the same time. I used many of the same research books that I have cited before – and I did not take pictures as these are more recognizable to most gamers and modelers.
M3A1 After painting, before adding decals and weathering
Sherman in blister
M4A2 after painting and prepped for decals
M10 in blister
After painting but before weathering and decals
After decals added
The 3D printed M24’s after I added magnets
M24 painted – I tried to obscure the 3D printer lines
Above, you can see the group – below is a group shot after assembly.
I mostly used my airbrush for painting – and on the M24’s I tried to minimize the 3D printer lines with paints, washes, and weathering. I decided to try a few Vallejo weathering products that caught my eye – I made a test of them first. Of course, these are applied with a brush!
Now I have 18 US/UK vehicles for Normandy – which should be plenty. I also know that some folks are bringing some DD Shermans and a couple of Churchill’s. I have 6 German tanks and tank destroyers for Normandy and 11 for the Eastern Front (all about 60% completed), with 3 more to assemble (plus 5 scout cars). That should be enough for a couple of fun games. Stay tuned as I’m hoping to complete the Germans soon.
Thanks for checking this out – below are the paints etc. Let me know your thoughts if you would!
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THESE VEHICLES:
Battle Group Boston’s HAVOC 2019 (or HAVOC XXXV) is in the books. This previous weekend in Shrewsbury, MA was a Friday-Sunday gaming marathon that saw me run two games (“What a Tanker”in North Africa and “Attack of the Warbots” using Combat Patrol™). I also played in three other games: a First Boer War scenario using Combat Patrol™; “Look Sarge we are Invading Russia” using Look Sarge, No Charts™; and another “What a Tanker” game on Sunday. I have not been blogging much recently as my prep for the event took a lot of time. So, this post will share some shots of the events, with more focus on the games that either I ran as a GM or participated in as a player.
Of note, it was very nice to have my West Point classmate and good friend Dave Wood from the Maryland HAWKS make it up to play in my games and run two of his own. It was also great to see attendance and gaming from the Mass Pikemen, especially Mike Morgan, Leif Magnuson, Chris Comeau, and others.
On Friday, I ran “What a Tanker – North Africa” and had a full table. I was able to roll out my new Bonus Attack cards that I created for the convention. They were very popular in the game and I will be expanding my use of them in the future based on the scenarios I run and the historical aspects of the specific theaters and scenarios/battles. I will adjust their use, and how I allow tank replacements going forward. Still, the game went very well, and I earned an award for the “Best in Time Slot”! The Axis battled back from early losses and defeated the British 104-58.
Saturday, I played in two games, and ran a third. The first one Saturday morning was “First Battle of the First Boer War” using the Combat Patrol™ rules system as modified for this era. It was a fun game, with the Boers holding off the British as they attempted to seize a wagon. In the end, the Boers prevailed.
There were many other games – over 56 I believe, and I did not get a chance to take a picture of all of them, but here are some shots below.
The next game went up in operational level and down in miniature scale. Dave Wood ran “Look Sarge, We are invading Russia”, using the Look Sarge No Charts set of rules and 6 mm microarmor. The Germans held off the Russian counterattack, and won the game. Both of Dave’s games were very well-received.
Skipping to Sunday, Leif Magnuson ran a nice What a Tanker game using 28mm tanks in an Eastern Front battle. It was a lot of fun, and the Soviets eked out a win. Leif also won an award for “Best in Time Slot” – well-deserved. This meant that our club (The Mass Pikemen) won two awards – and both were “What a Tanker” games!
“Ivan is a Tanker” run by Leif Magnuson.
Flashing back to Saturday night – I ran an updated “Attack of the Warbots” game. The game was a success, as the players had a great time.
At this point in the battle, Duck Wader made a power leap with his Sith powers, and drove his light saber into the Warbot tank, resulting in its disabling just two inches from victory.
Nearby, Roberker, a giant robot (with flame-throwing arms) was the Warbots’ last chance. The Frinx shot Roberker a bit, and its resulting morale check caused a miracle result – apparently the robot lost face, ran away in shame, and blew himself up!
The death of Roberker was followed by raucous laughter from the table – even from the player who had it happen to his Roberker.
I was tired after the weekend, but it was a great time. I want to thank all the players, as well as the GM’s, and especially Battle Group Boston for another fun convention!
I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately. I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th. Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast! So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers! The link for the convention is here.
I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.
I’ll be running these two games!
I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!
Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul! I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures. I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.
This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused. The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.
Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019! Hope I keep you amused and entertained!
2018 Total Projects: 2,036
244 figures painted
0 figures cast
47 figures assembled
33 terrain pieces made or assembled
28 terrain pieces painted
10 figure conversions
867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
0 molds made
807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted
January: 91 projects
Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two, I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines.
As 2018 comes near to a close, and with Christmas nearly upon us, I wanted to wish all of my readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! You have all been so supportive of this blog, which is a big part of my hobby work.
So, please know that I appreciate all of you from all over the world who take the time to read my blog and to share your feedback. And you know who you are, to include Azazel, Buck, IRO, Roger, Subedai, Alex, JNV, Faust, Dave, Pete, Tichy, maenoferren22, Alexis, Le Bim, Wudugast, The One, theuniversalgardener, theimperfectmodeler, savageddt, Luke, redcaer1690, Matt, reductivetendency, patmcf, backtothehammer, and many, many others (and I hope I got most of you – if not apologies).
I am so grateful for your blogs as well. I aim to not only share my work but to amuse and inspire you, as you inspire me. If I get you to chuckle or say “wow”, I have hit my target.
As you can see from my hobby tally, I had a very productive year, and I hope to add to my total before year’s end. Of course, I need to get in some golf posts once in a while, but that will have to wait until April at least as I do live in New England!
I hope that I make you smile a bit over the years with this blog – and while I cannot send a beer or a glass of wine (or a pint for you Brits, Aussies, Kiwis!), I do send my best wishes and a card below. Please keep on reading – I aim to keep it going in 2019!