Aztec Temple Corner Walls (Plus Some Life & Other Distractions Stuff Added In)

This blog is titled “Life, Golf, Miniatures, and Other Distractions” – and it’s not often that it’s about anything but miniatures. This post will definitely concern miniatures – but as the title suggests, a few other things are going to get added in after the miniature stuff.

Why you ask? Well, the long and short of my current predicament is that a member of my household is near the end, and I need to deal with the ramifications of that. It’s sad, but it’s time.

Oh, sorry, not a person, it’s my PC that is on its last legs – and it is already quite legless.

My PC has had multiple thermal shutdowns over the last few weeks – while in sleep mode! Argh! I decided that I would need to get a new desktop before I lose all my hobby work (plus everything else that is on the thing). I prefer a PC over a laptop, though I still look at WordPress on my iPhone and my iPad. I just compose on a PC. Anyways, I will be without a computer shortly – so I needed to get a post in. Therefore this post will cover some miniature stuff first and some fun (I think) extras – I hope that they will be somewhat interesting for you.

Plus, this is my largest list of hashtags ever (I think so anyways).

In my last post, as part of “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest” (which you should enter soon by the way!) I discussed how I assembled and painted 8 Temple Columns for my Aztec games of Feudal Patrol using my Civilizations Collide supplement.  I had moved onto the MDF kits over my resin stuff as temperatures had been too cold here in Massachusetts to use rattlecans to prime outside. I truly enjoyed building and painting the MDF of my last post, and I certainly still have a love for using chinchilla dust.

My next MDF effort would be two kits of the “Temple Corner Walls” – from Things From the Basement via 4Ground via Badger Games (see it here). Each kit had one square pillar-like structure and two walls – six in total. The kits are very nice and pretty easy to work with in my opinion. I basically used the second approach from last time – assemble first, then dust up with the chinchilla dust and paint them.

An example of one kit out of the bag after cleaning it off with a moist microfiber cloth.
I have found with these MDF kits that it helps to dry fit first and organize the parts. Here you also see that I put an “up” arrow on the inside of the walls to help make sure that I did not assemble anything upside down.
I assembled the wall sections first and let the PVA dry overnight.
The next day, I added steel washers as weight to get the wall tops to glue flush to the previous step’s work. Then I glued to the bases (with the weights again).
All of the “Temple Corner Walls” assembled and ready to get dusted up and painted.
Here you see my early dry brushing after dusting – I use three colors to dry brush. I decided to paint the triangles in a red, black, and yellow pattern. You can see the paints that I used at the very end of this post.
After I dry brushed the structures, I toned down the dry brushing with Army Painter “Light Tone”. Between the “thirst” of both the MDF and the chinchilla dust, I ended up using the better part of two bottles of the AP tone. Here, these are all complete.

I tried to use my spray booth again for some shots here but I did get some weird shadows and alternatively unwanted shine that I did not like. So I went with what you see below. I’ll need to investigate a light box (maybe).

Here you see a fight among the “Temple Column Walls” (this post) and the “Temple Columns” (from my last post) between a squad of Conquistadores (and a wardog) against an Aztec squad and a supporting warrior priest. I think that I was successful at getting all to blend in well.

So, the Temple Corner Wall structures of this post are part of two “challenges”. The first is mine as mentioned earlier – “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest” – in which I will give away free prizes to blog followers for being the closest to guess how long it will take me to finish all these buildings. The second is from Ann’s Immaterium, and is called Ann’s “Paint the Crap You Already Own” challenge. These definitely count there – and I hope there will be more for this April challenge.

I have ordered some more “Light Tone” – and with my remaining MDF I’ll need it. In the meantime, as an update – it warmed up here this week so I was also able to get my outside priming done – see below!

I was able to prime this week! I can now vary what I decide to complete.

I also am planning an update to my Civilizations Collide supplement, which will have rules for the falconet and some new scenarios (in addition to an overall update). So that might slow up my progress, as also golf might (haven’t played yet this year though). I also have been – wait for it – GAMING!

Well, remotely anyways. I was lucky enough to play in a Combat PatrolTM game last Saturday via Zoom with Sally4th’s Chris Abbey. Chris (in the UK) set up a James Bond game based on the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me that he called “Nobody Does it Better” (Carly Simon song of the movie). It featured the scene in the bad guy’s (Stromberg) supertanker interior hold (that held a captured US sub). The action focused on the scene where escaping British, Russian, and American crews fight the Stromberg goons to stop a nuclear launch. We had US and UK players – and I had James Bond. Our objective was to advance up the gantry and throw a satchel charge at the control room doors and blow it open. We had a lot of twists and turns in the game – James Bond’s satchel charge misfired, and so did a Stromberg flamethrower that would have fried him. A last second satchel charge throw from the Americans missed, but the explosive charge slid up to the door and blew it! Success! Notably, I had invited our blogger buddy TIM who got to watch the game – and it was fun to share the experience with him.

Take a look at the tabletop below – amazing!

The tabletop before the game.
Chris Abbey GM’s the game exceptionally well. We were moving up the gantry on the left – the control room was in the center of the far end.

I also had two other nice surprises. The first was in the mail from Buck Surdu – who sent me a couple of Wars of Ozz shirts. I did get in the Kickstarter for it (and the figures are available from Sally 4th and Old Glory in the US) -and the next project I plan to do is paint these figures.

The second surprise came in our local weekly newspaper (see below). I’ll let Andy Newton’s words speak for themselves, but given the last few months, this was a heartwarming bonus for us.

From The Spencer New Leader

And though my computer is a problem, I did get the email from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that has allowed me and my wife to get our first “jabs” this weekend! Take that COVID-19!

So, until my computer situation is better – I’ll be painting and following up on my iPad. Maybe I’ll be back this weekend – in any case, let’s discuss this post! So feel free to let me know your thoughts and comment – and to enter the contest. Take care all and thanks for looking!

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

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

  1. Aztec Temple Corner Walls (Plus Some Life & Other Distractions Stuff Added In) (this post)
  2. Aztec Temple Columns and My New Love for Chinchilla Dust
  3. Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest
  4. Game Aids and Tools for Feudal Patrol games using the Civilizations Collide Supplement
  5. And the Winners of “Mark’s Conquistador Contest” are…
  6. Conquistador Cavalry. 24 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CON5 “Conquistador Cavalry in light armour 1” (4 horses & 4 riders); Outpost Wargame Services #CON6 “Conquistador Cavalry in full armour” (4 horses & 4 riders); Eureka Miniatures “Moving Horses” #100ANM05 (8 horses used as casualty markers).
  7. Conquistador Falconet and Crew (Artillery). 3 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CONA1 “Falconet and Crew”.
  8. More Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men. 8 figures total Outpost Wargame Services #CON001 “Sword and Buckler Men”.
  9. Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men (Wargames Foundry). 18 figures total in three blister packs: Wargames Foundry #SB015 “Swaggering Swordsmen”, #SB016 “Brutal Sword and Buckler Men”, and #SB017 “Bold Bladesmen”.
  10. Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs). 13 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONS6 “War Dogs” (8 war dogs); Eureka #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” (1 dog handler/pikeman and 4 war dogs)
  11. Conquistador Foot Command, Crossbowmen, and a Couple of Officers. 11 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONC1 “Conquistador Foot Command” (a leader, a banner bearer, a drummer, and a bugler); Eureka #100CON04 “Crossbowmen” (5 crossbowmen); and Eureka CONC1 “Conquistador Officer” and an unknown SKU officer (2 officers)
  12. Merciless Adventurers (this post) – Wargames Foundry #SB014 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  13. Audacious Arquebusiers! – Wargames Foundry #SB012 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  14. Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers!
  15. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  16. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  17. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  18. 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!
  19. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  20. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  21. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  22. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  23. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  24. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  25. 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
  26. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  27. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  28. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  29. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE PIECES:

  1. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  2. Poster tack
  3. Plastic Plates
  4. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  9. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  10. DecoArt “Buttermilk”
  11. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  12. Americana “Kelley Green”
  13. Craftsmart “Black”
  14. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  15. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  16. Vallejo Game Air “Desert Yellow”

Aztec Temple Columns and My New Love for Chinchilla Dust

When one considers the Aztecs and their empire, what does the historical record say about which visual images struck the Conquistadores in 1519 with awe? Colorfully costumed and tremendously fierce warriors? Eagle Warriors? Jaguar Warriors? Montezuma II and his palace? Untold amounts of gold and silver? Perhaps their quite bloody reputation for human sacrifice, slavery, and occasional cannibalism? The magnificence of the city of Tenochtitlan and its amazing architecture? Probably all that and more, at least in what I have read.

As I shared in my last post – I am working on terrain/buildings for the period as part of “Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest”. These buildings are either resin or MDF. I originally thought that I would start with the resin buildings and then move onto the MDF ones. To do that, I wanted a good primer on the resin – and the manufacturer (Acheson Creations) recommended a Rustoleum primer. This meant spray painting with the rattlecan outside safely – or doing it unsafely inside the house and provoking my lovely bride to commit several felonies upon my person due to the fumes. Well, I can’t visit her in jail during a pandemic – or from the grave – so I decided on the outside option.

However, despite one beautiful Massachusetts day in March where we saw the 70’s (that’s the low 20’s for you metric folks), it has been in the 40’s (4-9 for you metric folks) and rainy. Neither are good for outside. So, flip the order, and onto the MDF.

My experience with MDF is very limited – all I have done before is some MDF barriers that I did back in 2017. And they were not my best work IMO. All of my MDF in the challenge is supposed to be made of stone. MDF does not look like stone of course. It’s manufactured from wood dust and glue. So, what to do? First, I watched a smattering of YouTube videos on MDF kits. The best one said to wipe down MDF with a damp microfiber to clean prior to painting which was very important for paint to adhere!

I also reached out to a couple of friends – Buck Surdu (of Buck’s Blog) and The Imperfect Modeler (TIM) to seek their unbridled wisdom. Both were great – and TIM opened my eyes to a new (to me) and amazing hobby tool that I wanted to share with you all as I am in love with it.

Chinchilla dust.

Yes, I had never heard of it before either. I have a 26 year old cockatiel, no gerbils or similar. You find it in the pet store – apparently gerbils and chinchillas and similar beasties bathe in dust, not water. This stuff is very, very finely ground pumice. A bag cost me $22 , and I think its a lifetime supply! Based on TIM’s recommendations and advice, I planned to try to use it to create a stone-like look. I hoped to accomplish this by using it over a watery PVA application.

As I had two kits of the ones called “4 Temple Columns“, I thought I’d start there as it would enable me to experiment and learn for the rest of the MDF. I broke the kits into two attempts – with the first being painting and dusting the MDF on its sheet and then assembling the kit. The second attempt would be to assemble the kit first, and then dust up and paint.

The two unopened MDF kits. I decided that I would not need the columns stacked up as the single columns were sufficiently tall enough for my needs.
After wiping the kit off with a wet microfiber cloth, I had this.

As stated, my first kit attempt was to paint and flock in situ as it were. I applied a watery PVA coat to the MDF, and then lightly spooned on or pinch-applied the chinchilla dust. I tried removing excess with a reusable Testors plastic cheap brush. I did this in a plastic tub so as to minimize the mess (and avoid unnecessarily ticking off the wife with the unannounced arrival of a new beach in the cellar). This was a bit time-consuming and not very efficient I found.

Here you see the MDF sheet with the chinchilla dust bag in the back. The watery PVA glue was applied with a cheap brush, and the chinchilla dust was applied with a tiny sculpting spoon or my pinched fingers. I tapped off or brushed off any excess.

After the glue had dried, I used my cheapest airbrush (my Iwata Neo) to paint the sheet with Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”. When that was dry and basically cured, I dry brushed the sheet serially with three colors: Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand’, then Citadel “Ushabti Bone”, then DecoArt “Buttermilk”. I wanted to get some depth of color this way. Then I painted the idols’ faces (all paints are listed at the end of this post as references too). The main challenge I had was not to let my paints be too thin, as they could easily run via capillary action to unwanted parts of the models. Happily, the chinchilla dust is so porous that it grabs paint easily.

The MDF sheet after dry brushing the three colors over the base coat.
Here you see the idols’ images painted. I wanted them to look well-carved but painted with primitive paints.

After painting all of it, I used Army Painter “Light Tone” over the whole of both sheets.

After the wash application.

Now, it was time to assemble. the directions were easy enough – but I discovered three issues. One was that I wasted a lot of paint and effort on parts I would not need. Second, that assembly would be complicated (just slightly) by the added thickness of the painted/dusted MDF. That was easily dealt with by an Exacto blade. Thirdly, the brown (laser-burned) surfaces of the MDF would not be the same texture and color of the rest – hardly a way to look like stone. These were the surfaces I did not get to paint by leaving the pieces of MDF on the sheets. I needed to touch all of those areas up after assembly and leaving to let the glue to dry overnight.

Assembled and left to let the PVA used in assembly dry overnight.
All the brown areas needed touch up to match the rest of the pieces!
I added more chinchilla dust and repeated the previous process with paint and wash. I needed an easier way!
First group completed.
Close up of example from the first group. I would later tone them down a bit more.

Going forward, I saw opportunities to address the shortcomings from the first go -around.

First, I would assemble first, and then apply the chinchilla dust, paint and wash. This would limit the need for so much touch up. Second, I got a small spray bottle and a cheap salt shaker from Wal-Mart to respectively apply the watery PVA glue and the chinchilla dust more easily. Both were huge improvements for round two.

Round two – let’s assemble FIRST.
An example after the chinchilla dust application put on a plastic plate with poster tack in my spray booth.

I used the exact same order of paints and washes as before – and then went back afterwards with “Light Tone” to get better blending on all of them. A few bonuses here around chinchilla dust – it is so porous that it traps a lot of the paint and the wash – and it dry brushes great. You will use more paint too. Varnishing was unnecessary – a big plus!

So here are the final results:

This is a shot of the first four Temple Columns that I completed.
Here are all of the 8 Temple Columns. I used a different design top for the second set. The lighting here is making the tops look too shiny – see next shot – they are fine.
Here is a top view. The first set tops ironically looked less “seamless” than the second set.
Here you see the columns with a couple of 28mm Conquistador arquebusiers for scale comparison out of the booth.

I did use a new setup for photos here – got some black fabric to put in my spray booth, binder-clipped it, and add a flashlight – et viola. My previous Sonoran Desert background would not have worked well. I probably need to put a filter over the spray booth light next time as the light was too bright – even with editing.

It ain’t pretty, but it works.

So that’s my March 31st completion. I am hoping to add any next April-completed pieces to Ann’s “Paint the Crap You Already Own” challenge.

BIG THANKS TO BUCK AND TO TIM!

Remember to follow my blog and enter my contest! The entry window closes on midnight EDT (US East Coast time) on April 10th, 2021.

And always, I invite your feedback on this post! Thanks for taking a look!

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

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

  1. Aztec Temple Columns and My New Love for Chinchilla Dust (this post)
  2. Mark’s Aztec Building Challenge Contest
  3. Game Aids and Tools for Feudal Patrol games using the Civilizations Collide Supplement
  4. And the Winners of “Mark’s Conquistador Contest” are…
  5. Conquistador Cavalry. 24 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CON5 “Conquistador Cavalry in light armour 1” (4 horses & 4 riders); Outpost Wargame Services #CON6 “Conquistador Cavalry in full armour” (4 horses & 4 riders); Eureka Miniatures “Moving Horses” #100ANM05 (8 horses used as casualty markers).
  6. Conquistador Falconet and Crew (Artillery). 3 figures total: Outpost Wargame Services #CONA1 “Falconet and Crew”.
  7. More Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men. 8 figures total Outpost Wargame Services #CON001 “Sword and Buckler Men”.
  8. Conquistador Sword and Buckler Men (Wargames Foundry). 18 figures total in three blister packs: Wargames Foundry #SB015 “Swaggering Swordsmen”, #SB016 “Brutal Sword and Buckler Men”, and #SB017 “Bold Bladesmen”.
  9. Perro de Guerra (Conquistador War Dogs). 13 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONS6 “War Dogs” (8 war dogs); Eureka #100CON13 “Dog Handler and Dogs” (1 dog handler/pikeman and 4 war dogs)
  10. Conquistador Foot Command, Crossbowmen, and a Couple of Officers. 11 figures total: Outpost Wargames Services #CONC1 “Conquistador Foot Command” (a leader, a banner bearer, a drummer, and a bugler); Eureka #100CON04 “Crossbowmen” (5 crossbowmen); and Eureka CONC1 “Conquistador Officer” and an unknown SKU officer (2 officers)
  11. Merciless Adventurers (this post) – Wargames Foundry #SB014 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  12. Audacious Arquebusiers! – Wargames Foundry #SB012 (6 Conquistadores with arquebuses)
  13. Mark’s Conquistador Contest – for my loyal blog followers!
  14. Montezuma and Chieftains – Wargames Foundry #AZ011 for Feudal Patrol – 6 Aztec figures (Montezuma, 4 Chieftains, 1 Warrior Priest)
  15. Aztec Shock Troops – Cuachic Warriors aka The Shorn Ones – 8 Aztec cuachicqueh warriors
  16. Tloxtoxl and the Priests of the Great Temple, Wargames Foundry AZ021 – 2 warrior priests, 1 priestess, 1 priest, 1 leader, and 1 signaler
  17. 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!
  18. 18 Aztec Novice Warriors for Feudal Patrol Walk into a Bar – 18 Novice Warriors
  19. Aztec Warrior Priests (painted as Tlaxcalans), Ral Partha 42-302, circa 1988 (this post) – 6 figures – 6 Tlaxcalan Warrior Priests
  20. Tlaxcalan Novices, Elite Warriors, and Command Group – 18 figures – 8 Novice Tlaxcalan Warriors, 8 Elite Tlaxcalan Warriors, 1 Tlaxcalan Captain, 1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower
  21. Tlaxcalan Archers – 8 Veteran Tlaxcalan Archers
  22. Aztec Game for Feudal Patrol across thousands of miles – via Zoom!
  23. Aztec Snake Woman and Drummer – 1 Aztec General, 1 Aztec Drummer
  24. 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
  25. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  26. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  27. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  28. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE THAT I USED ON THESE PIECES:

  1. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  2. Poster tack
  3. Plastic Plates
  4. All Living Things Dry Dust Bath (chinchilla dust)
  5. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  6. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Sand (Ivory)”
  8. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Sand”
  9. Citadel “Ushabti Bone”
  10. DecoArt “Buttermilk”
  11. Army Painter “Light Tone” (wash)
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Off-white”
  13. Vallejo Model Color “Red”
  14. Americana “Kelley Green”
  15. Craftsmart “Black”
  16. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  17. Americana “Vivid Violet”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Red Terracotta”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  21. Craftsmart “Bahama Blue”

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?