Ral Partha “Tree Shepherds” (ES-49) and Mithril Miniatures “Treebeard and the Hobbits” (M185)

I have been wanting to have some Ents in my collection for over 30 years.  Sometimes they are called Tree Shepherds or Dryads by different manufacturers.  I just remember them fondly from the Lord of the Rings.  I managed to wrangle four of them this fall on eBay and wanted to add them to my collection.

The first one I got was a Ral Partha 1977 ES-49 that was painted but not to my tastes.  His hands looked like Gumby to me.  It was my first project at stripping paint from a miniature.  I discovered that simple green works well – though now I use a plastic food container and not a zip-lock bag (as they leak).

0 Tree shepherd on ebay
My First Ent from eBay – with a skeleton for no reason at all!


1 Tree shepherd in simple green
Blub, blub, blub – I’m losing my color!


I kept on looking on eBay, and got two more of the figures over a few months, including one in the original blister.

I also found that Mithril Miniatures had a series “Fangorn Forest” that came out in 1991. Now, Mithril’s figures are 32mm, and mine are 25mm (mostly).  But with an Ent, who cares!  It’s a huge tree!  The one that caught my eye was “Treebeard and the Hobbits” with Treebeard holding Merry and Pippin.  It was unpainted, but apparently Mithril precoated their miniatures with a base coat.  It was thick, so I used the simple green here as well and got some detail back.

2 Tree shepherds before priming
The Ral Partha Tree Shepherds


3 ES-49 in package before priming
Close up of the Original package


4 ES-49 back of  package before priming
Back of the Original Package


7 Tree shepherd bottom
Bottoms of the Tree Shepherds


5 Treebeard and hobbits
Front of Mithril Miniatures “Treebeard and the Hobbits” before stripping


6 Treebeard and hobbits back
Back of “Treebeard and the Hobbits” before stripping


6 Treebeard and hobbits bottom
Base of “Treebeard and the Hobbits”


After stripping, which I augmented with a toothbrush, and more stripping, I finally got the figures where I wanted them.  I cleaned them off in water with dishwashing soap, and dried them.  I cut 2″ hex bases out of 1/8″ plywood, and used wood glue to mount the four.  I then lightly primed them with Krylon “White Ultra Flat” primer.

I used Americana “Snow” for all of the eyes, which I then dotted with Citadel “Mechanised Standard Gray”.  Then I base coated the four with a mixture of Americana “Bittersweet Chocolate”, Armory “Leather Brown”, and Citadel “XV-88”.  I then applied a wash with Citadel’s “Agrax Earthshade”.

8 Tree shepherds and Treebeard base coated
After Base Coat


I then worked on the Ral Partha Tree Shepherd models separately from the Mithril Treebeard one.  For the Tree Shepherds, I wanted to dry brush them all slightly differently so that they could have more individuality. They also needed to be less confusing to players.

Therefore, I dry brushed one  with Craftsmart “Gray”, one with Americana “Desert Sand”, and one with Armory “Leather Brown” – becoming respectively “Graybeard”, Tanbeard”, and “Redbeard”.  I then again used Citadel’s “Agrax Earthshade” to darken them.  I then used the respective colors previously cited to highlight facial features, roots, and limbs.

9 Tree shepherds washed and drybrushed
Greybeard, Tanbeard, and Redbeard after Painting


I then painted their bases with Americana “Bittersweet Chocolate” and used Army Painter “Brown Battleground” to flock the bases.  I then varnished each figure with Krylon “Clear Glossy” varnish, followed several hours later by a second coat with Krylon “Clear Matte” varnish.  For each base, I added different combinations of Army Painter “Wilderness Tuft” “Wasteland Tuft”, and “Meadow Flowers”.  I also added combinations of 4Ground 10G Basing Materials (TSM-122 “Loose Foliage Green Leaves”, TSM-123 “Loose Foliage Brown Leaves”, and TSM-124 “Loose Foliage Copper Leaves”).  I experimented with adding some leaves to the branches, but that did not look good, and I abandoned that approach.

12 Tanbeard completed front
Tanbeard Front



13 Tanbeard completed back
Tanbeard Back
16 Graybeard completed front
Graybeard front
17 Graybeard completed back
Graybeard back
14 Redbeard completed front
Redbeard front
15 Redbeard completed back
Redbeard back
18 All 3 ents Graybeard, Tanbeard, Redbeard completed
Completed Graybeard, Tanbeard, and Redbeard

As for Treebeard, the details of the hobbits and those of Treebeard posed some challenges.  The base coating was the same as the Tree Shepherds.  For the Hobbits, I used Citadel’s “Castellan Green” for their cloaks, and Deka Lack “Dunkelblau” and Craftsmart “Gray” for their breeches.  The shirts were painted with Americana “Raw Sienna” and Armory “Prussian Blue”.  For the hobbits’ hair, I used different mixtures of Citadel “Yriel Yellow” and Armory “Leather Brown” so that there was a little difference between the two hobbits.  I then highlighted the robes with lighter versions of the “Castellan Green” mixed with Americana “Buttermilk”.  I used P3’s  “Ryn Flesh” and “Midland Flesh” on the hobbits skin, with lighter mixes for highlighting after shading with P3 “Flesh Wash”.


To get Treebeard’s face, hair, and beard to pop without seeming ostentatious, I used Americana “Hauser Light Green”, which I then highlighted with Secret Weapons Washes “Green”.  I shaded a lot of the wooden crevices with P3 “Brown Ink” and more Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.  I highlighted Treebeard’s bark afterwards with a mix of Americana’s “Raw Sienna” and “Raw Umber”.  I then followed the same color combinations and sequences as I did for the Tree Shepherds through varnishing.  Finally, I added Army Painter “Meadow Flowers” and 4Ground 10G Basing Materials TSM-122 “Loose Foliage Green Leaves” to the base.

10 Treebeard completed
Treebeard and the Hobbits (front)


11 Treebeard completed back
Treebeard and the Hobbits (back)


Overall, I am happy with the figures, and am excited to see them on the tabletop soon.  After all, 32 years without Ents is long enough!

Rehabilitating a 1983 Grenadier Frost Giant (Fantasy Lords – First Series 103)

I have loved this John Dennett figure for many years.  I know that I got it when I was back at West Point.  The main problem was that its axe was prone to breaking off, and mine of course did.  I tried different repairs over the years but to no avail.  When I used the figure, I always had to say “imagine the axe being there”!  Below is how the figure should have appeared as I purchased it.  Note that it was guarding a treasure.

10 olf fg
Grenadier “Frost Giant” 103 (from Lost Mini Wiki Page)
At some point, Grenadier recognized the problem and updated the figure with a hammer and got rid of the horns when they released this in the “Fantasy Lords – Second Series”.

11olf fg with hammer
Grenadier “Snow Giant” 103 modification (from Lost Minis Wiki Page)
















When my Frost Giant lost his axe, I tried all kinds of glue, but nothing worked.  In fact, some of the glue actually went over the figures hair, which obscured some detail.  At some point over the last 30 years, I came across a tomahawk charm that looked like it might work.  At the time I did not have a pin vise and the project waited, with the figure looking like this below, for at least 25 years.

1 Frost Giant Before rehab
Frost Giant before Repair
Note that I had him on a balsa wood base that was painted green.  The figure itself was chipped, as I never used varnish back in the day like I do now.  I clearly painted some parts of him too thickly, but I really did not want to strip the whole figure.  To a degree, I like to keep what I did back in the day as it was done.  However, with a repair, I decided to go a little bit further.

I used an Exacto knife to shave off the end of the tomahawk and my pin vise to drill a small hole in the shaft of the axe in the Frost Giant’s hands.  This fit well, though less appropriately than the previously missing axe.

3 Frost Giant with new axe removed from base
Frost Giant Removed from his old base with shaved tomahawk
I then removed the figure (and his treasure) and mounted them both with wood glue on a 2.5″ hex cut from 1/8″ plywood.  I prefer this as it made the figure less “boxy”.  I had used Krylon white spray primer to prep the new base and the new axe.  I used E6000 epoxy to affix the new axe.

I then began to play with some paints and inks to improve the figure.  The shaft of the new axe and the leather straps were base painted with Citadel “XV-88”.  I then mixed the “XV-88” with Armory “Leather Brown” and Americana “Raw Umber”.  I tried to see if a dry brush technique with Citadel “Prayeti White” would help the his loincloth pelt and his hair.  It did not, so those waited for other interventions.

I used Tamiya “Gun Metal” on the axe itself, as well as on parts of his belt, armor, and helmet.

5 Frost Giant rebased with new axe (better)
Rebased figure

For his skin, I applied a very light coat of Americana “Sky Blue Satin” to cover some of the chips.  I then mixed that with Americana “Snow” to add further highlights.

I changed the stone colors on his bracelet.  I replaced the pinkish color on the bracelet’s stones with two altered colors.  I used Polly-S “Demon Dark Red”, while I used Americana “Dioxazine Purple” on the other stones.  I darkened the axe and its straps with Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black” wash.  The horns I dry brushed with Craftsmart “Ivory”.

For the treasure, I used Citadel “Auric Armor Gold” on the coins.  For the skull in the treasure pile, I used Craftsmart “Ivory” to cover the white color it had.  I darkened the quiver with P3 “Brown Ink”, and used Polly-S “Demon Dark Red” on the fletchings.   All the treasure pile then got a light wash with the Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black”.

I then decided that the white pelt and boots and snow-white beard had to go.  For this, I used a combination of three inks – P3 “Brown Ink”, and “Sewer Water” and “Heavy Body Black” from Secret Weapons Washes.  This made the boots and pelt more like something from a brown bear.  For the beard, I just used diluted Secret Weapons Washes “Stone” to create a sooty appearance.  These worked well.  I then went back to the skin – luckily I had not painted that too thickly back in the 1980’s!  I highlighted the muscles and the skin depressions on the arms and the legs, and then used Secret Weapons Washes “Blue” ink to wash the skin.  I then did a second skin highlight, and used Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black” on the armor and the helmet.  I applied a light highlight on the edge of the axe with Tamiya “Titanium Silver”.

On the plywood base, I worked in air-dry modeling clay and tried to make it like real snow.  I even made footprints behind the figure.  I let that dry for a day, and applied Americana “Snow” on the entire base.  I used Citadels flocking snow with white glue to give a more snowy appearance to newer drifts.  I sealed the figure with a spray coat of Krylon “Clear Glossy” varnish followed several hours later by a finishing coat of Krylon “Clear Matte”.  I then used white glue to add some Army Painter “Wasteland Tuft” to represent dead plants popping through the snow.


7 Frost Giant completed, front
Frost Giant after Repair
All I can say is “He’s BAAACK!”.  The figure is better than before and will last a long time on the tabletop – and he will bring along his own snowy environment!



Ziterdes Stone Bridges (11936)

I was in need of a few landscaping items for the tabletop.  In particular, hills, rivers, bridges, and woods.  I found many good options on eBay, to include a nice set of hills and rivers from Poland, a Geo-Hex set of hills that I have been looking for for several years, and two Ziterdes foam bridges.  I had just finished up 39 landscaping trees, so on to the bridges.  This was a good project to work on while recovering from sinus surgery – among others that will be posted here shortly.

As I said, these were made of foam and from Germany.  I got them from Noble Knight Games.  The detail seemed nice and the size appropriate as shown below.

1 Ziterdes Bridges in package
Front of the Packages


2 Ziterdes Bridges in package back
Back of One of the Packages


3 Ziterdes Bridges out of package
Out of the Package


I was reticent to prime them with spray paint and see them melt away from the acetone.  Therefore, I primed them with “White Primer” from Armory paints that I bought in 1996.  This project finished this stalwart bottle off and into retirement.

4 Ziterdes Bridges primed
After Priming


I then applied “Stone” wash from Secret Weapons Washes to get into the crevices and deep sections under the paving stones.  This worked but used a lot of the wash.

6 Ziterdes Bridges first wash
After First Ink Wash


I was not overly happy with this look, so I went to another old paint, a Polly-S “Ocean Gray” from 1984 – (yes, a 32 year old paint from a company that long ago was acquired by Testors).  It worked ok and while I tried as best as possible to be almost a dry-brush process, the colors were not yet to my liking.

5 Ziterdes Bridges basecoated
After Basecoat


I then went back and used the rest of the “Stone” ink wash.  I then used “Pewter Gray” from Apple Barrel (which I had left from 2000) to dry brush, and that did the trick.

By the way, if you are getting the idea that I use all my paints until they are gone, you are correct.  However, if I find them unworkable, dried out, chunky or even with mold in them (happened once), I toss them.

The final product looks pretty good.  I did not apply varnish as I am still leery of melting them.  They will work well as nice additions to my battlefields.

7 Ziterdes Bridges finished
Bridges Complete


8 Ziterdes Bridges on table front view
On Tabletop


9 Ziterdes Bridges on tablelong view
On Tabletop

The Iron Winds Metals Ral Partha Kickstarter – Orc & Goblin Legion, Briar Rose Knights on Giant Flying Bees, Dwarf Steam Cannon, & more!

Happy New Year to All!

This is my first post in a while!  With the holidays, work and more, it’s been the usual hectic season.  This year I hope to track my painting production on this blog as well.

I was happy to get my Ral Partha Kickstarter from Iron Winds Metals in late December – and is it impressive!

The Ral Partha Kickstarter is Here!
The Ral Partha Kickstarter is Here!

Added up, it’s about 254 miniatures.  For the vast majority of these figures, they are great old (1978-1986) Ral Partha figures that are great to see again!

This is the list of all I got – it came in the form of the Orc & Goblin Legion, and some additional figures:

25-427: Orc & Goblin Legion: 218 miniatures total: 24 Goblin Archers (8 of each sculpt); 36 Lesser Goblins (12 of each sculpt); 48 Goblin Shock Troops (16 of each sculpt); 72 Orc Warriors (18 of each sculpt); 18 Wolf Riders (6 of each sculpt); 1 Orc General; 1 Orc Battle Standard Bearer; 1 Orc Mage; 2 Goblin Champions; 2 Goblin Standard Bearers;  3 Orc Champions; 3 Orc Standard Bearers;  3 Orc Musicians; 3 Wyverns;  1 Orc War Machine

SG-06: Briar Rose Cavalry on Giant Bees: Contents:  6 Riders on Giant Bees

SG-11: Dwarf Steam Cannon: 1 Cannon + 3 Crew

Free Gift #5 containing: 1 Wizard, 1 Winged Panther, 1 Armored Halberdier,  1 Armored Crossbowman, 1 Winged Demon

Bonus: 1 Skeleton and 1 Dwarf fighter and a large number of bases.

This will take a while to paint and get ready, but I am looking forward to the challenge.  The miniatures were all there (I even got an extra wolf).  The quality of the figures is great as you can see from the pictures below.

When I opened the box, I was a bit concerned about inventorying all these, as while they were packed well and by type, it was difficult to see if I got everything.  Jacob from Iron Winds Metals came through (thanks Jacob!), sent me the picture guide you see here.  This helped me to separate all the types and see what I had.  I think that Iron Winds Metals wanted to get these out – but I would suggest that there was labeling on the bags for their next Kickstarter!

Orc & goblin Legion

Here are some better pictures of the different units below:

Orc Warriors with Sword
Orc Warriors with Sword
Orc Warriors with Sword Raised
Orc Warriors with Sword Raised
Orc Warriors with Weapon Option I (axe, pike or cutlass)
Orc Warriors with Weapon Option I (axe, pike or cutlass)
Orc Warriors with Weapon Option II (axe, pike or cutlass)
Orc Warriors with Weapon Option II (axe, pike or cutlass)
Lots of Weapons Options for the Orcs!
Lots of Weapons Options for the Orcs!
Two Types of Goblin Archers
Two Types of Goblin Archers
More Goblin Archers and Goblins with Swords
More Goblin Archers and Goblins with Swords
Two Different Goblin Javelin Units
Two Different Goblin Javelin Units
Goblins with Flails
Goblins with Flails
Goblins with Halberds
Goblins with Halberds
The Armory was empty - Goblins with Clubs!
The Armory was empty – Goblins with Clubs!
Goblin Champions and Standard Bearers
Goblin Champions and Standard Bearers
Very Cool Goblin Wolf Riders with Javelins
Very Cool Goblin Wolf Riders with Javelins
Equally Cool goblin Wolf Riders with Swords (and an extra wolf)
Equally Cool goblin Wolf Riders with Swords (and an extra wolf)
The Infamous Orc War Machine
The Infamous Orc War Machine
Air Supprt for the Orc & Goblin Legion - Three Wyverns!
Air Supprt for the Orc & Goblin Legion – Three Wyverns!
Orc General, Army Standard Bearer, 3 Orc Musicians, 3 Orc Standard Bearers, 3 Orc Champions, and an Orc Mage
The Orc General, the Army Standard Bearer, 3 Orc Musicians, 3 Orc Standard Bearers, 3 Orc Champions, and an Orc Mage

The rest of the miniatures were special add-on’s or free gifts:

The Dwarf Steam Cannon
The Dwarf Steam Cannon
6 Knights with Lances on Giant Bees (Briar Rose Cavalry)
6 Knights with Lances on Giant Bees (Briar Rose Cavalry)
Some Nice Freebies - a Winged Panther, An Evil Wizard, a Winged Demon, and a Julie Guthrie Sculpted Skeleton and a Tom Meier Sculpted Dwarf from the Next Kickstarter Round
Some Nice Freebies – a Winged Panther, An Evil Wizard, a Winged Demon, and a Julie Guthrie Sculpted Skeleton and a Tom Meier Sculpted Dwarf from the Next Kickstarter Round
Lots of Free Bases with my Inventory Sheet
Lots of Free Bases with my Inventory Sheet

NOW I NEED TO PAINT THEM!  As I do I will of course post here!




Spell Deck for Fantasy Rules – Done!

I have been working on a rewrite of my fantasy miniature wargaming rules for sometime.  I have been working this in between golf and sinus attacks since June, and am in the home stretch (of both ironically)!
In the last few months, I have been significantly influenced by the Bear Yourselves Valiantly rules from Buck Surdu, Dave Wood, Chris Palmer, and James “Tank” Nickle.  It’s a great set of rules, but for my purposes, I wanted something a bit different.  The rules I am redoing started with Buck back at West Point, and I did a rewrite back in the 1990’s.  I am aiming to make things simple, with unit and individual cards, as well as shortcut cards.  My goal is to have a game that anyone can play right away and have fun.  Magic is an important component of the game.  It’s important to me that Wizards be more interesting and less predictable in the game.  I also wanted to add a card element to the use of Wizards to eliminate use of charts.
Creating the cards has been a challenge – and one that has proved to be an interesting project.  Buck shared with me some ways he created cards, and it was a tremendous help.
As a side note, Buck has just completed publishing his Combat Patrol rules(awesome WWII rules please check them out here and buy them if  you can – THEY ARE REALLY COOL!
Buck also helped me understand how he used Microsoft PowerPoint to make his cards.  This was a game changer for me as I really was able to make good cards.  I also had some questions about using fixative and spray adhesive, about which he also was a great sounding board.
I wanted to see what I could do without hitting a publisher.  After all, this game is for playing with family and friends and my troops!
I initially thought about using templates and the like, but I came to the belief that poker-sized cards were too small for my needs, and too difficult to attempt printing on my home HP printer.  I needed simple production with good results.  I liked the idea of 3″ x 5″ cards, but the corners seemed too much like what you would use for recipes.  Add on to that that they were not thick enough for use as cards in a game, and finding ones without one side ruled at Staples was a non-starter.
A search of eBay found the solution.  A vendor known as colonialcards had 3″ x 5″ unruled cards with rounded edges!  They came in a pack of 100, and were 65/67 lb. cardstock.  I decided to use two cards to make each spell card – and thereby make each card effectively 130/134 lb. stock.  I purchased white ones for the project.
I then created the concept of the deck in Excel, and inputted the data into my master Excel game attributes deck.  Wizards are levels 1-4, and get 1 action chip (AC) per level per activation cycle.  To allocate spells, I wanted to use the Spell Deck I was creating.  In it, I planned to have three types of spells: Attack, General, and Mundane.  The Mundane Spell Cards are issued to each Wizard “free” at the beginning of the game.  Then, each player with a Wizard rolls a D4, and gets that number rolled plus the Wizard’s level of spell cards from the Spell Deck.  This way, what spells Wizards had would be variable and more fun.  I planned the Spell Deck to consist of 50 cards.  Here are the spells and how they were allocated:
Spell Class Spell Name AC Cost Range Effect Duration of Effect Nullified or Partially Nullified  by? No Effect on? Number of Cards in Spell Deck?
ATTACK Fire Ball 2 AC 0 – 15″ Damages Target Instantaneous N/A N/A 6
ATTACK Cold Spell 2 AC 0 – 15″ Damages Target Instantaneous N/A N/A 6
ATTACK Lightning Bolt 2 AC 0 – 15″ Damages Target Instantaneous N/A N/A 6
ATTACK Mega-Blast 3 AC 0 – 15″ Damages Target Instantaneous N/A N/A 5
GENERAL Nullify 1-4 AC 0-8″ Nullifies or Reduces the effects of Certain Spells Variable N/A N/A 5
GENERAL William Tell 3 AC 0-8″ Enhances Friendly Missile Fire Instantaneous Nullify or The Yips N/A 2
GENERAL Wild Pitch 3 AC 0-8″ Wards Off/Diverts a Large Missile Attack Instantaneous N/A N/A 1
GENERAL The Yips 3 AC 0-8″ Reduces Enemy Missile Effectiveness 1D4 Activations Nullify or William Tell N/A 2
GENERAL Charles Atlas 3 AC 0-8″ Enhances Friendly Melee Attack Effectiveness 1D4 Activations Nullify or 98-lb Weakling N/A 2
GENERAL 98-lb Weakling 3 AC 0-8″ Reduces Enemy Melee Attack Effectiveness 1D4 Activations Nullify or Charles Atlas N/A 2
GENERAL Thorny Devil 1-2 AC 0-8″ Creates an Entanglement 1D4 Activations Nullify  N/A 1
GENERAL Alacrity 3 AC 0-8″ Doubles Movement Rate 1D4 Activations Nullify or LSD The Undead 1
GENERAL LSD 3 AC 0-8″ Halves Movement Rate 1D4 Activations Nullify or Alacrity The Undead 1
GENERAL Walk on Water 4 AC 0-8″ Allows Movement on Water 1D4 Activations Nullify The Undead 1
GENERAL Wall of Smoke 2 AC 0-8″ Creates a Wall of Smoke 1D4 Activations Nullify N/A 2
GENERAL Wall of Flame 2 AC 0-8″ Creates a Wall of Flame 1D4 Activations Nullify N/A 2
GENERAL Suck It Up Sunshine 3 AC 0-4″ Removes All Current Fatigue, unpins or stops retreat Instantaneous N/A The Undead 1
GENERAL I ain’t a-skeered o’Ya 4 AC 0-4″ Removes Any Possibility of Fear from Undead, Monster, or Magic Attacks Game unless nullified 4 AC Nullify Elves, The Undead 1
GENERAL Marshal Ney 3 AC 0-4″ Nullifies a Unit Morale Break and No Morale Checks for 1D4 Activations 1D4 Activations Nullify or Overlook Hotel The Undead 1
GENERAL Overlook Hotel 3 AC 0-4″ Degrades Morale – Must Roll 2x for Morale for 1D4 Activations 1D4 Activations Nullify or Marshall Ney The Undead 1
GENERAL Don’t Worry, Be Happy 4 AC 0-4″ Removes All Current Fatigue, and Resets Casualty Rate to Zero Losses for Morale Purposes Instantaneous N/A The Undead 1
MUNDANE Fly 1 AC per 10″ Flight N/A Wizard Flight Instantaneous N/A N/A  6 cards – Reference only
MUNDANE His Master’s Voice 2 AC per activation controlled 0-6″ Control Beasts, Large Creatures, Large Animals, or Individual Creatures 2 AC per activation controlled Death of Wizard or Cessation of Spell Trained or Semi-Sentient Animals  6 cards – Reference only
MUNDANE Buzz 3 AC 0-6″ Control a Swarm, Reduce Enemy Effectiveness 1D4 Activations Death of Wizard or Cessation of Spell The Undead, Ents, Lizard men  6 cards – Reference only
 The red cards are Attack Spells and the green cards are General Spells.  These would have a yellow backing (see pictures at bottom of this blog), and would be consumed when used. The three Mundane Spell cards would have a white backing.  Again, the plan was for the Mundane Spells to be issued free and capable of multiple use, but the Buzz spell (which summons a Swarm) is the only Mundane spell consumed by use.  The way I made the deck was as follows:
  1. I created the spell attributes in Excel.  I have a large spreadsheet that I use for all the game data – and this lends itself to cutting and pasting tables into the PowerPoint.
  2. I cut and pasted the parts of the tables I need from Excel into PowerPoint.  (Once again, thank you Buck for your help!)  I then inserted colors, pictures, graphics and adjusted the font sizes.  This was a nice way to make cards legible. I just used clip art that I thought appropriate.
  3. I then saved each PowerPoint slide as a separate slide and separate jpeg.
  4. I set up a Word file with documents set to print to 3″ x 5″ cards for the Spell Deck. I then inserted each PowerPoint jpeg into the Word document, and adjusted these jpeg’s to fit the card.  This made printing a breeze.
  5. I printed the cards on my printer (well, my old printer – this project was its swansong).  With 68 cards in the deck (50 total for Attack and General and 18 Mundane), I had 136 cards to assemble front & back.  This supports 6 players as each Wizard gets three Mundane cards.
  6. Then I coated the printed side of each card with Krylon fixative with each card on pieces of cardboard with “blue” painting masking tape.  The fixative gave the cards a nice protective coating.  The blue masking tape assisted in easy removal from the cardboard.

    1 Fixative on cards
    Fixative Being Applied to Printed Side of Cards in the garage
  7. I then separated the cards so I could assemble them.  I made a two jigs, one for applying spray glue and one for card assembly.


5Gluing application jig, front
Adhesive Spraying Jig, Front Side

8.  For glue application, I affixed the card backs to popsicle sticks with blue painting masking tape on the printed side for applying spray glue (also Krylon).  These I mounted on a display piece of wood from AC Moore that had three routed slots on it.  I was able to spray 4 cards mounted on the wood at a time with the glue.  I also made an assembly jig out of 1/4″ and 1/8″ plywood for card assembly. It had a small press with the weight being old casting plugs left over from our Academy days.

Card Assembly Jig
Card Assembly Jig

9.  I then used the assembly  jig to put the cards together with no misalignment.

Assembly Jig with Spell Card Front (printed side down)
Assembly Jig with Spell Card Front (printed side down)
Inserting the Card with Adhesive into the Assembly Jig
Inserting the Card with Adhesive into the Assembly Jig

10.  The jig had a short term press, followed by using some large medical textbooks as presses.

Short Term Press
Short Term Press


The Spell Deck
The Spell Deck is Done!


Here is what the Spell Deck looks like – although they are on 3″ x 5″ cards this is the PowerPoint I used to make the deck:

WMB Cards (all) ppt

I am pretty happy with the Spell Deck.  It is legible and sturdy – and I can even shuffle it!

12th Annual USO Benefit Golf Tournament at Bay Path Golf Course – Success and Thank you!

The 12th Annual USO Golf Tournament was held at Bay Path Golf Course in East Brookfield, MA on September 5, 2015.  It does not seem possible that our event has now had its 12th go around!  We had 65 golfers spread amongst 17 teams. This was down a bit from last year, but thanks to very generous hole sponsors we are very close to our annual goal to support the USO and the work it does to support our men and women in uniform.

As for the event, the weather could not have been nicer.  Jeffrey and Justyne Smith had the course in great shape and the clubhouse was packed.

With a few late hole sponsorships still pledged to come in (and yes, I can still take them just send me a message – all it takes is a check written to the USO!), we should just be shy of raising $6,000 for the USO!  This brings our total for the time we have had the event to over $46,000!  Thanks to everyone who donated or competed!

I want to give a special thanks to our sponsors.  They were honored with placards on our “Wall of Honor”.  Please click the link below to see the Powerpoint Show for our generous sponsors and how they were represented – there are some great images here not to be missed:

2015 Hole Sponsorships

Please note that we had some late donors who did not make the wall but who should also be acknowledged as well – Ed LaFlamme from Ken’s Citgo in East Brookfield, Ted Boulay from Voya Financial in East Brookfield, and Ron Lacaire from East Brookfield.  Thanks!

As for the event, it was a very competitive event.

Here are the results – the 50/50 on the par-4 2nd hole was a closest to the pin on the second shot over the pond.  This was won by Nick Guerin at 14′!

There were 5 skins – won by Jerry Dufresne, Pit Caron, Kyle Waterman, Jim Hemenway, and Stacie Chandler.

As for our individual winners, we used the Callaway scoring system.  Nick Guerin shot 82 and had a Callaway score of 71 (-1) to win best scoring Male golfer.  Stacie Chandler shot 85 and had a Callaway score of 73 (-1) to win best scoring Woman golfer.  Bob Tilton (age 83 and 2 days) shot 74 and had a Callaway score of 72 (Even) to win best scoring Senior golfer.

Top Individuals - Nick Guerin (Best Man), Stacie Chandler (Best Woman), Bob Tilton (Best Senior)
Top Individuals – Nick Guerin (Best Man), Stacie Chandler (Best Woman), Bob Tilton (Best Senior)

As for the top three teams, as a USMA grad it pains me to say that both Air Force and Navy beat the best Army team (which was my team), but congrats nonetheless!  We also used the Callaway Scoring System for team play.

The 1st place team played for the US Air Force, and comprised Jim Kularski, Lisa Kularski, and Mike Kularski, and had a score of +3.  Congrats to the Kularski’s!

USAF WINNERS - Jim, Lisa, & Mike Kularski
USAF WINNERS – Jim, Lisa, & Mike Kularski

There were three teams at +4, so it went to a couple of tie-breakers.  The second place team played for the US Navy and comprised Michele Holm, Ellen Morse, Stacie Chandler, and Denise Bruso.  Well done ladies!

NAVY TAKES 2nd - Ellen Morse. Denise Bruso, Michele Holm, & Stacie Chandler
NAVY TAKES 2nd – Ellen Morse. Denise Bruso, Michele Holm, & Stacie Chandler

ARMY TAKES 3rd – The 3rd place team was mine, proudly playing for the US Army.  My teammates were Bob Tilton, Russ McGee, and Jerry Dufresne. (I did not get a picture!).  Thanks for playing with me guys – and watching an 83 year old shoot (Bob Tilton) 2 over par is a great spectator event for sure!

Here are the overall team results:

Place Team Team Captain Score
1 USAF Jim Kularski +3
2 US Navy Michele Holm +4
3 US Army Mark Morin +4
4 US Army Jim Hemenway +4
5 USAF Stein Berthiaume +5
6 USAF Jeffrey Smith +7
7 USMC Brian Ingman +7
8 US Navy Ray Lareau +7
9 US Army Ralph Davies +10
10 US Army Paul Sanborn +10
11 USMC Mike Waterman +10
12 USMC Pit Caron +11
13 US Army Sally Fiske +13
14 Army/Navy Jerry Perron +13
15 US Navy Linda Clayton +14
16 US Army Mike Morgan +16
17 USMC Jason Thompson +18

There were some nice side stories as well.  Jim and Janice Howe from Colden, NY sponsored an entire team of US Marines (Jason Thompson, James Dea, Carlin Monroe, and Austin Ahmed) from Springfield, MA.  They had a great time and were very thankful for the sponsorship!  These Marines are buddies of Russ McGee’s son and Bob Tilton’s grandson, Bobby McGee, who was killed tragically by a wrong-way driver on the Massachusetts Turnpike in 2012 as he drove to his USMC reserve weekend drill.  You can see a picture of Bobby on the 2015 Hole Sponsorships link above in this blog.

This event for the USO reunited them and Janice and Jim, you really did a nice thing!  It also was a great reminder of the main reason we do this – support of the troops and the great work the USO does in support of our men and women in uniform, of whom we are so very proud!

USMC Team sponsored by the Jim and Janice Howe
USMC Team sponsored by the Jim and Janice Howe

Just a few fun shots to add:

Mark & Lynn
Myself & Lynn Supporting the USO!
Lynn Morin & Debbie Rice working on the 8th Hole
Lynn Morin & Debbie Rice working on the 8th Hole
A Great Raffle
A Great Raffle

LAST BUT NOT LEAST!  Special thanks go out to the committee for all their help.  An event like this is a lot of work!  Without these folks and their dedicated help this event could not happen:  Jeffrey and Justyne Smith for all the support from Bay Path; my lovely wife Lynn for her baskets, her help signing folks in, her work at the 8th Hole Contest, her well-received desserts, and overall help, love, and support; Jerry Dufresne for his help with the door prize raffle and the set up; Ray Lareau, Sr. for his help with the 50/50 and the scoring; Bob Tilton for his help with the Skins and the set up; Jim Hemenway for his help with the set up and the scoring; JP LeBoeuf for his help with the sign in, the scoring, and getting sponsorship; Debbie Rice for her help with the raffle and the 8th Hole contest; and Lisa Kularski for her help with the scoring.  Of course, thanks to all the golfers who supported this event!  Let’s keep this going next year!

Last, let me end this post with the motto of the USO:

“Until Everyone Comes Home”

God Bless you all and God Bless America!

12th Annual USO Benefit Golf Tournament, September 5, 2015

If anyone wishes to support this benefit tournament, here is our support letter – thanks in advance for the consideration!

12th Annual USO Benefit Golf Tournament

Saturday, September 5th, 2015 at Bay Path Golf Course

193 North Brookfield Road, East Brookfield, MA 01515

(508) 867-8161 (Bay Path Golf Course) or (508) 867-9634 (Mark Morin) MarkAMorin@aol.com

Dear Friend and Fellow American,

The USO supports our brave military with many morale support activities. We are looking forward to support the efforts of the USO and our troops our 12th annual benefit golf tournament.

We need your help and support to be successful!

The USO is a non-governmental organization dedicated to volunteer support of our troops and their families. The USO is private & relies totally on outside support like this event.

The 12th Annual USO Benefit Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, September 5th.   The format will be a 4-person Callaway. Registration will be at 7:30 AM and we will have a shotgun start at 8:00 AM.

You can help in any or all of these three ways:

  • Sign up as a team or individually and come out and play – this is the biggest need we have! Please fill out and mail/drop off the attached entry form to Bay Path GC with your entry fee to or sign up at Bay Path GC. Please make out checks for golf play to Bay Path Golf Course. The cost is only $340 per foursome or $85 per player, and includes 18 holes of golf and a meal afterwards. Golf carts are extra and need to be reserved with Bay Path GC ahead of time on a first-come-first-served basis).Please reserve your team’s spot by August 27th! we need to know this to arrange food, etc. – so letting us know you are coming is a very big help). Singles are welcome and we can help you get team mates – just let us know you want to play
  • Hole Sponsor – $50 or more (please make hole sponsor checks payable to the USO).
  • Donate a gift certificate or a raffle item that we can use! You can drop off at Bay Path or we can pick it up – please call Mark Morin at (508) 867-9634 for pick up.

Thank you so much in advance for your generous support of the USO and our courageous men and women in uniform!


The USO Benefit Golf Tournament Committee:   Mark and Lynn Morin, Justyne Smith, Bob Tilton, Ray Lareau, Sr., Jerry Dufresne, Jim Hemenway, JP LeBoeuf, Debbie Rice

 12th ANNUAL USO GOLF TOURNAMENT, Saturday, September 5th, 2015

(Please check all that apply)


  • Yes, I’d like to reserve my foursome! My $340 check for golf, payable to Bay Path GC is enclosed. The names of my foursome are as below (if you know the names):
  • Please choose a TEAM NAME – you can pick Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, American Legion or VFW Post, former veteran or active duty member, or whatever you want!:
  • PLEASE CHOOSE A TEAM NAME: _________________________________________Team Captain:____________________________________________________________Player 2:_________________________________________________________________Player 3:_________________________________________________________________Player 4:_________________________________________________________________
  • Yes, I’d like to play but I need a team! My check for $85, payable to Bay Path GC is enclosed. Please reserve a spot for me and put me on a team! My Name is:________________________________________________________________________________
  • Yes, I’d like to sponsor a hole – my $50 or greater donation, payable to the USO, is enclosed. Please list my sponsorship as follows:        ____________________________________________________________________________ 
  • Yes, I’d like to donate a prize or prizes for your raffle.
  • PRIZE OR PRIZES DONATED: _________________________________________________________
  • VALUE: ____________________________________________________________________________