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.
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).
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 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!
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.
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”
Aztec Temple Corner Walls (Plus Some Life & Other Distractions Stuff Added In) (this post)
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)
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)
2020 was – HOPEFULLY – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As we all did, I had highs and lows on the personal side of life, the hobby side of life, and the golf side and others.
First, my deep thanks for all of you who regularly follow this blog and share your feedback with me. My thanks also to those whose blogs I follow. Your work inspires me.
As readers of this blog know, I am currently knee-deep in finishing up my forces for Feudal PatrolTM games. But I did set some goals back in January 2020 – so here I’d like to examine and share how I did – or did not do – versus those benchmarks, how my production was in 2020, how the blog did, and my personal highs and lows. I’ll also set some 2021 goals for myself. This is really to hold myself accountable here – and please know I’m open to any and all feedback.
How did I do versus my 2020 goals?
These are the goals I set for myself and how I did:
Run convention games at TotalCon, HAVOC, HUZZAH, BARRAGE, and the Fort Devens Game Day (and a few more maybe) –
Complete a supplement for Feudal PatrolTM for Mesoamerican warfare (Aztecs, etc).
Yes – this was a big part of my February and March. Civilizations Collide was published on the Sally 4th website and Buck Surdu’s website as free downloads. This is the accomplishment in 2020 of which I am most proud.
2. Be productive, but never sacrifice quality
Well, you dear reader can be the judge of that. I did paint 181 figures this year versus 153 in 2019. My project total was only 403 versus 775 in 2019, but I did a lot of scratch-building numerous game aids (410 to be exact while I only did 146 in 2020), so my production was different. Still, almost 181 figures is a lot!
3. Grow the blog and find new ones to follow!
I definitely did both of these. As for the blog, it grew by about 12% in terms of views and visitors, and my followers are up too. My posts were fewer by five – so that is something I need to work on.
4. Entertain my audience!
I think so – again – you are the judge of this, not me!
Get my handicap below 14 (if I have enough non-gaming time!)
I did a lot of research in March and wrote Civilizations Collide, a supplement for the upcoming Feudal Patrol™ card-based wargaming system from Buck Surdu. The supplement covers the Spanish Conquest, to include the Conquistadores, the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance, Aztecs of the Aztec-Chichimec Alliance, the Maya, and the Inca. I cannot quantitate this as a hobby project, but it certainly was one!
18 Aztec Novice Warriors painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry Aztecs line (12 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 6 from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
Figures assembled (32):
8 Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX2 Tlaxcalan Novices in Padded Vests)
8 Tlaxcalan Elite Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX3b Elite Warriors in Feather Costume)
1 Tlaxcalan Captain assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
6 Aztec Warrior Priests assembled as Tlaxcalans for Feudal Patrol™ (25mm scale), from Ral Partha’s 1200 A.D. line, circa 1988 (#42-302 Aztec Warrior Priests)
8 Aztec Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry Aztecs line (6 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 2 from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
It’s been about a month since the last gaming convention I attended, and my how the world has changed. I cannot see how a large convention could be held right now (though Cold Wars indeed happened in Pennsylvania this weekend). There are a few upcoming gaming cons in obvious risk – and for now I think it useful to blog and paint and reflect back until this COVID-19 crisis passes (and that it will). Best wishes for health and happiness to all my readers all over the world, from the US to Australia to the UK, All across Europe, and Africa and Asia. Now with everything at a lock down or a standstill due to the coronavirus crisis, I thought it was a good time to write a post about the games at my last convention as a distraction.
I had promised you great readers a few battle reports from TotalCon 34. It was a very large convention with around 600 attendees. Miniature games were a smaller offering there compared to RPG, LARP, board games – and a number of other offerings with which I was unfamiliar!
Running four different games in two days was a challenge (my vehicle was full of mats, terrain, and miniatures) but I pulled it off well enough I believe. I’ll share some photos and some descriptions of the action. I think the players had a good time. This post will be pretty photo-heavy.
The first game I ran was on Friday was “Space Cowboys versus Giant Zombie Cosmonauts“. I had four players (though I could have accommodated 9). It turned out that I had two seasoned gamers on the defending Space Cowboys side and two younger players on the attacking Giant Zombie Cosmonaut/Martian/Retrovian side.
The game was a blast. The defenders took up good positions but the attackers’ pressure was building to a decisive point. Unfortunately, The Mind became vulnerable and the defenders’ gambit worked this time. The players quickly got used to the Combat Patrol™ system.
The next game was later that night, when I ran “Attack of the Warbots”. I have run this game several times, and it always is a crowd pleaser.
I had about 8 players for the game. The attacking Warbots made good progress initially in breaching the wall. However, the defenders jet-packed their bazooka-armed Star Ducks onto unprotected rooftops – and got pretty shot up.
This scenario is as described on the flyer above, but to be clear, the Germans are in hidden positions across the board known only to them and the GM (me). Additionally, the exact force composition selections on both sides are done secretly, as each side buys vehicles and Bonus Attack cards with points. Each side starts with 200 points.
Points are earned by the Allies (US and UK) for successfully reconnoitering hidden positions (which could have either possible or actual Germans there), for knocking out Germans, and for crossing the board and breaking out. Germans earn points for unreconnoitered positions, knocking out Allied vehicles, and can get a game bonus for limiting Allied crossings to zero or no more than 1 vehicle. The Germans vehicles are more expensive, so their defensive benefits need to be offset by successful ambushes and an overall defense against any Allied breakout. I announce only who is winning at the beginning of each turn, but not the exact score – so as to keep the game feeling crew-focused.
I had between 4 and 6 players (some joined mid-game). The Germans went initially with two 8-wheeled scout cars (an Sd.Kfz. 231 and an Sd.Kfz. 233, a Panther D, and a Tiger I, all of which deployed secretly. They loaded up on Bonus Attack cards as well.
The US deployed on the left half of the board, and the UK/commonwealth on the right half. The US chose an M5 Stuart light tank (with recon abilities) and an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer to start, while the Brits took a Daimler Dingo scout car and an M4 Sherman. The Allies also maxed out their Bonus Attack cards possibilities.
On turn 1, the Allies spent 71 points on vehicles and cards. They successfully reconned 5 positions at 2 points each for 10 points, leaving them with 139 points at the end of the turn. The Germans spent 88 points on vehicles and cards. The German Tiger I ambushed and knocked out the British M4 Sherman for 14 points. At the end of turn 1, it was close – 139 to 126 in favor of the Allies.
On turn 2, the Allies respawned another British M4 Sherman for the destroyed one, and bought 1 more Bonus Attack card. This new vehicle was at no cost as the replacement cost as much as the previous loss (the Germans did get more points for killing that previous Sherman on turn 1). The M10 Wolverine rolled a great movement, and was able to breakout successfully, gaining the Allies 16 points and taking away half of any potential German end-of-game bonus for preventing Allied vehicle crossings. On turn 1, the US M5 Stuart had been able to move into a field and successfully recon a position where an Sd.Kfz. 231 was hiding. On turn 2, the Stuart activated first, and destroyed the German scout car, gaining 11 more points for the kill. The Germans for their part bought two more Bonus Attack cards for 10 points. Overall, the Germans had a weak turn, and only recovered 2 points by activating their Sd.Kfz. 233 before the US could find it. The successful M10 “Demon” crossing widened the score at the end of turn 2 to 161-118 in favor of the Allies.
On turn 3, the Germans knew that they were losing, but not by how much. They made a bold move and chose an expensive new tank for a respawn of their lost Sd.Kfz. 231 – a Tiger II. The net cost was 18 points after “credit” for the “trade-in” in lieu of a free respawn of another Sd.Kfz. 231. Adding another Bonus Attack card brought the German spend for turn 3 to 23 points. The US player got a free respawning replacement M10 for the one that crossed on turn 2, so the Allies spent no points at all on turn 3. They did earn 6 points for reconning German positions. The Germans got a bit of revenge as a Panther activated and took out the M5 that killed the Stuart for 12 points, and the Tiger I moved to a crossroads and took out a second British Sherman for 14 points. The score at the end of turn 3 was 167-123 in favor of the Allies.
Turn 3 action – the destroyed the German scout car is the left. The Tiger I has moved to an excellent position at the crossroads and has knocked out the second Brit Sherman. The Panther (not seen ) was hiding at position “F”, and activated.
On turn 4, the Allies decided to get three more vehicles. Two were respawning ones for turn 3 losses – the US got a “free” M5 to replace the one killed in turn 3, and the Brits “upgraded” its second lost M4 Sherman to an M10 Achilles tank destroyer “Tabitha”. They also bought another M4 Sherman for a new very young player that joined the game, and a couple of Bonus Attack cards. The Allied spend was 24 points. The Germans only bought 1 card, for 5 points.
During turn 4, the Daimler Dingo had a fun time. It successfully reconned the hidden position of the Tiger II! Then, scared for its survival, it and its crew sped off down the road to cross the other side – gaining 7 points for crossing and thereby nullifying any potential German end-of-game bonus.
The Brit side then flanked the Tiger I at the crossroads with the M10 Achilles “Tabitha”. It took a quick flank shot on the German, and did some damage. It then called in the RAF (with a Bonus Attack card) which destroyed the Tiger I for a big 25 points. The Allies successes widened the score at the end of turn 3 to 177-118 in their favor.
Turn 5 would be the last turn of the game. The Allies respawned another Daimler Dingo for the one that crossed in turn 4, and bought a couple more Bonus attack cards, spending only 10 points. The Germans were despondent, and decided to buy a Jagdpanther and a Bonus Attack card for 29 points.
The M10 Achilles “Tabitha” fresh off the combined arms kill of the Tiger I maneuvered for a rear shot on the Panther – and killed it for 22 points. The Germans tried to hunt down a fleeing M5 Stuart. It lined up a deadly point-blank rear shot on the Stuart – only to miss the shot. It was emblematic of the German sides day. After another position was reconned, the day belonged to the Allies. The final score was a lopsided 191-89 in favor of the Allies.
This was the biggest disparity in this game ever (and I have run it many times). In my opinion, the Germans did not keep their eyes on the objectives. They also did not effectively take advantage of their ambush positions, and left too many openings for the Allies, who maneuvered their lesser vehicles much better than their foes. With that said, all had a fun game.
With some help from players, the tabletop was cleaned and it was time to take a break. I could have played a game but I decided to spend the next game slot relaxing as I felt a but tired.
I had originally 10 players signed up for this game, with 2 on a waiting list. I was disappointed that I only had 5 players show up – but it was fine. I had two German players and three French players.
Each side had 200 points at the start. Here again, the exact force composition selections on both sides are done secretly, as each side buys vehicles and Bonus Attack cards with points. Points here are earned by the Germans for successfully reconnoitering hidden positions (which could have either possible or actual French located there), for knocking out French vehicles, and for crossing the board and breaking out. The French earn points for unreconnoitered positions, knocking out German vehicles, and can get a point bonus for limiting German crossings to zero or no more than 1 vehicle. Similar to the Normandy Breakout! game, I announce only who is winning at the beginning of each turn, but not the exact score. This definitely keeps the game feeling crew-focused.
There are a couple more key additional nuances to this scenario. There are two bridges, and the French player can spend points to wire one, both or neither bridge for demolition. Any French attempts at demolition may be tried at any time, but are not guaranteed. They also get a “free” small minefield (that is not very effective) that is also secretly set at the beginning of the game. The French decided to wire the bridge on their right flank for demolition prior to the game, leaving the one on their left with the small minefield next to it. During the game (which I will discuss), the French did blow the bridge on the right, and were able to fool the Germans into believing that the other was wired as well. This rendered the minefield a non-factor in the game, but made the Germans attempt to ford the river.
The Germans decided to buy 2 6-wheeled Sd.Kfz. 231’s and a Panzer 38(t) on turn 1. They also maxed out on Bonus Attack cards for a total of 50 points spent. The French deployed in hidden positions (half the tabletop is designated as under the control of French cavalry tanks, and the other half (mainly the town area) is under the control of French infantry tanks. The French bought a Panhard 178 armored car, a Char B1 bis, and a SOMUA S35. Their initial purchases all had radios (some French tanks do not), so they were able to max out their Bonus Attack cards. The total initial French spend was 71 points, including the wiring of the right flank bridge.
During turn 1, the Germans drove one of their scout cars onto the right flank bridge, and the French successfully destroyed the bridge with the German on it, gaining 11 points. This also spooked the Germans to avoid the bridge as they feared it was also wired (and it was not!). After this the Germans were forced to use fords to attempt crossing the river. The Germans did successfully recon one possible hidden position for 2 points. The score at the end of turn 1 was 152-140 in favor of the Germans.
On turn 2, the Germans respawned a Panzer IVD for the lost Sd.Kfz. 231 at no net point cost. They also reconned a couple of French potential positions for 4 more points. The French bought an additional SOMUA S35 for the cavalry for 10 points, and uncovered three of their own positions in order to meet a table-crossing threat from the surviving Sd.Kfz. 231 and a Panzer 38(t). This gained them 6 points. The Panzer 38(t) is a fast light tank, and was able to ford the river, along with the other scout car. The French recognized this threat, and attempted to deal with it by activating its vehicles in the town. The Germans used a Bonus Attack card to bring down smoke and obscure their movements. The score at the end of turn 2 was 156-136 in favor of the Germans.
On turn 3, the French hurriedly bought a Renault R40 for 8 points and tried to use it to stop the crossings. The French also bought more Bonus Attack cards for 15 points. The Germans bought nothing. During the turn, the Germans successfully crossed the Panzer 38(t). This despite the fact that at first the Char B1 crossed the smoke and missed it, and then the R40 shot at and missed it. This crossing earned the Germans 8 points, and limited the French end-of-game bonus chances.
On the cavalry side of the table, the Germans tried another smoke screen to protect a Panzer IVD as it crossed a ford. one of the smoke rounds hit the river mud and did not ignite – leaving a hole in the smoke screen. The French cavalry S35 did manage to shoot and damage the Panzer IVD on the other side, just after it forded the river. This pushed it back into the river. The French SOMUA then called in and then destroyed it with an artillery barrage using a Bonus Attack card, earning 8 points as well (and blocking that ford). The Germans also reconned another of the hidden positions for 2 points. However, the Sd.Kfz. 231 made it to within 1″ of the other side of the table – and the R40 had a rear shot aimed at it at turn’s end. The score at the end of turn 3 was 166-124 in favor of the Germans.
On turn 4, the Germans respawned the crossing Panzer 38(t) and the destroyed Panzer IVD for identical models, and added a Bonus Attack card for a total spend of only 5 points. The French bought 3 Bonus Attack cards in the hope of stopping the German scout car from crossing. The R40 activated first, and then missed the Sd.Kfz. 231. The German scout then crossed, ending any chance of a game bonus for the French and earning 11 points for the Germans. The score at the end of turn 4 was 172-109 in favor of the Germans.
I failed to get any more photos after turn 4 (I think I was getting tired!)
On turns 5 and 6, the French were getting desperate as they knew they had lost the game bonus. They bought an Hotchkiss H35, and a SOMUA S35 took out another Panzer IVD. The Germans bought a StuG III ausf. A. Both bought more Bonus Attack cards. The Luftwaffe was called in on the Char B1 bis and successfully destroyed it. That loss ended the game. The score at the end of the game was 159-89 in favor of the Germans.
Both sides played well, bu I have to say the dice abandoned the French at critical times. The Germans crossings sealed the fate of the game. It’s nice to see that both games results have differed each time and that no side has an advantage.
After this, I packed up with help (especially from Leif Magnuson – who was a BIG HELP THANK YOU!), and went home to sleep.
I hope you enjoyed these battle reports. Now that the COVID-19 is endangering lives, we’ll have to see if and when I get to run these games again soon. Let’s all hope for the best, and prepare accordingly.
Wishing all of you and your families safety and health!
In support of all these activities, of course I had a number of projects in terms of assembling, painting, and creating. I documented these here. Being an analytical type of guy I kept a spreadsheet of my hobby activities (below) and listed them on a page of this blog with links (also below).
The entire list and links are at the end of this blog which will refer to each project. These links are very useful to me in reviewing previous projects as to what paints I used, what techniques, etc.
The building and painting of tanks and support materials made up the largest part of my 775 project activities in 2019 (106 tanks I believe – 43 German, 23 UK, 18 US, 15 Italian, and 7 French), and the remainder were models for retro sci-fi games (around 50 or so).
The blog itself grew by a lot, and I was very pleased about that. In 2019, there were 20,965 views (versus 13,743 in 2018) by 13,819 visitors (versus 8,295 in 2018). I managed to get in 36 posts, 3 more than in 2018. I must say a huge thanks to all of my readers and followers of my blog! I especially appreciate all of you (and you know who you are) – who took the time to give me feedback – it was great to hear all of your perspectives. THANK YOU!
So what’s next for 2020? My goals are always changeable (hell, its a hobby right), but here is my current list:
Run convention games at TotalCon, HAVOC, HUZZAH, BARRAGE, and the Fort Devens Game Day (and a few more maybe)
Grow the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club with new members and new GM’s
Support the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge
Build a suitable force of French and German tanks for the Battle of France scenario for 80th anniversary of this event
Build 2 or more new platoons for retro sci-fi games of Combat Patrol
Start the Nomonhan project
Complete a supplement for Feudal Patrol for Mesoamerican warfare (Aztecs, etc)
Be productive, but never sacrifice quality
Grow the blog and find new ones to follow!
Entertain my audience!
Get my handicap below 14 (if I have enough non-gaming time!)
Thanks again for reading this and making my little hobby blog a part of your day! Here are the massive details of 2019 below:
Back in March of 2017, I learned that the UK-based War Games Supply Dump Miniatures was closing after thirteen years of business. My problem at that time was that I had wanted to get more of their fun-looking retro-sci-fi figures. I had already very much enjoyed painting the Khang Robots I got from WSD for my Warbot platoon that serve as squad leaders in that unit. I had also seen many of WSD’s Dirk Garrison sci-fi line figures on Buck Surdu’s blog. I needed to get some while it was still possible to add to my forces for Combat Patrol™ retro-sci-fi games.
As time was limited (as was Roger’s remaining inventory) I placed a sizable order with Roger for several groups of 28mm scale figures that would be suitable for building platoons – including Khanopians, Valkyrie Space Pirates, and miscellaneous items such as Space Munchkins and my Robo-servo Guns that I posted about here previously. After finishing my Macron unit, I decided that it was time to get some of these languishing WSD projects painted, starting with the Retrovians.
By the way, many of you who follow this blog may recognize Roger as the author of the blog “Rantings from Under the Wargames Table” – a fun blog that unfortunately Roger ended in April of this year (you are indeed missed Roger!).
I was not able to order all of the Retrovian models, but a decent assortment of ones of different poses. I got the following 34 from Roger to build a Retrovian platoon:
3 DG-07 “The Bra’sheer” figures/three-legged vehicles
1 DG-11 “Garkkon” figure (Retrovian Monster)
2 DG-50 “Retrovian Captain w. Sword & Pistol” figures
6 DG-56 “Retrovian Two Man Sonic Cannon Team” crew figures (one had a sonic cannon, one had a pair of sci-fi binoculars – 3 of each)
In deciding how to construct the platoon, I needed to consider how to build something that would be useful as a unit – and that would have some sense as to its build. I also have been watching a number of early 2000’s Star Trek “Enterprise” episodes (that I never saw when the series ran). I have become very fond of the Andorians – and Jeffrey Comb’s portrayal of Commander Shran. The Andorians had not been much seen in the Trek universe since the original 1960’s Star Trek. I decided that in homage the Retrovian platoon would be completed as blue skins and with some Andorian names.
As far as structure, I had enough to create three line squads of two teams. There would be 10 figures in a squad: a squad leader, an A team of a team leader and four troopers, a B team of a team leader (the binocular half of the Sonic Cannon team), a Sonic Cannon gunner, a marksman/sniper, and a Bra’sheer Assault Pod. The Bra’sheer I envisioned as having an automatic weapon and mechanical claws that could tear apart obstacles, walls, or enemies’ heads and limbs.
That left me with enough figures to make two other sections. The first is an HQ section (composed of a platoon leader and a platoon sergeant). The second is a Garkkon section (reporting to the platoon sergeant or platoon leader) with a marksman in control of a giant Garkkon monster suitable for melee. The Garkkon is a hybrid of a fish, a lizard, and a giant chicken – it’s quite amusing to look at.
I will share how I assembled and painted the Bra’sheer pods and the Garkkon, then go into the infantry. Then I’ll share some eye candy that I hope you will like, as well as a glimpse into some of the play aids I made (with help from Buck Surdu) for these in club or convention game play. Lastly, I will share a list of the paints and materials used in the making of this platoon for those interested.
I believe the Bra’sheer were sculpted by Brad Shier – given their names. The three Bra’sheer figures were, like all of these, great sculpts. As I had three, it made sense to assign one per each squad on the B teams. Assembly-wise, I did have a good amount of filing and filling with green stuff to do on these. Also, the process of assembly was a bit difficult as I wanted to get the legs in position such that the chassis were level. I ended up needing to affix one leg at a time and check if they were level.
Eye Candy of painted Retrovian Platoon and Combat Patrol™ Game Aids
Platoon Sergeant, SFC Thelev
1st Squad, A Team Leader
1st Squad, B Team Leader
2nd Squad, A Team Leader
2nd Squad, B Team Leader
2nd Squad Trooper (A Team)
3rd Squad A Team Leader
3rd Squad B Team Leader
Retrovian Platoon (group shots):
This project took a bit longer than I expected it to – about 3-4 weeks – but it was rewarding. I do hope that you found it interesting and fun to look at – so let me know in the comments section – good or bad. Did you pick up on any Andorian references here?
The wonderful Barrage wargaming convention was held back on September 27-28 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. It is run by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKS), and I have attended the last few years and run a few games there as well as a GM. This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the convention.
The trip was enjoyable – and even though it’s been over a month since the event – I wanted to share some of the pics and details of the event from my perspective. It’s not an all-encompassing review – but hopefully it will give you a flavor of the event and some nice views of some worthwhile and visually interesting tabletop games.
I drove down from Massachusetts and arrived Thursday night (the night before the convention) to help the HAWKS set up. As a bonus, we got to play a few turns of Eric Schlegel’s Antietam: The Cornfield game using the A Union So Tested rules set. It was a fun start.
Eric Schlegel’s ACW game
The Schlegel brothers look at the cornfield.
The convention started in earnest on Friday – and I got a chance to check out some amazing tabletops. Bill Molyneaux had a brilliant Boxer Rebellion game that had incredible terrain. I did not get to play this game, but would have loved to try it.
I walked around Friday’s game and took some pics of a few games I loved seeing (but did not get to play) before I got into playing a Feudal Patrol™ game. Here you can see a Napoleonic game (run by Dave Wood), a Gundam game, and a really neat G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. Sherlock Holmes themed game (run by Sam Fuson). There was a Flames of War Tournament. I have not played that game despite having (as regular readers know) a TON of FoW models. The games looked a bit crowded figure-wise – and maybe that’s normal for that game. Note the US TIE fighter (the gamer said he did not have a proper US plane so he painted this model)…not sure about that particular add personally.
I really wanted to try another game of Feudal Patrol™. I had played one at HUZZAH! run by Duncan Adams earlier this year. Feudal Patrol™ is a novel skirmish game (yet unpublished) and is similar to Combat Patrol™ – except it is for pike and shot periods and earlier. I am hoping to write an Aztec supplement for it for Buck.
Chris Palmer ran a War of the Roses scenario involving securing an abandoned supply train of three wagons. It was just the two of us, but as Buck came available, he joined in on Chris’ side. I started off well, but in due course I got my ass handed to me by Buck and Chris! Still, I was glad to try it and I feel confident that this will be another great system by Buck.
After this game, I walked around and took some more shots of some cool tables. There was a 54mm scale ACW game, and a 54mm medieval mayhem game. Greg Priebe had a Poland 1940 Combat Patrol™ game for replete with an armored train. Lastly, there was an Aliens-inspired scratch built table that was impressive. These shots are below.
The last game that I played on Friday was with Dave Wood and another player. It recreated the scenario made famous by the events portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down. The rules were Force on Force, which had an interesting set of mechanics, but very complicated for a short game. We actually ran the game twice, with Dave and I as the Americans. All agreed that the scenario was impossible to win for the US. Still, the GM Carl Olsen made the experience enjoyable.
That finished off Friday. Saturday presented an opportunity to play the massive Combat Patrol™Star Wars Battle of Hoth scenario (from The Empire Strikes Back) of the Battle of Hoth that Buck and Greg Priebe ran at Historicon. It was pure eye-candy (as you’ll see below), and a blast to play. We had a full table of 10-12 players. The Combat Patrol™Star Wars supplement was used – and was easily picked up by the players who were new. Buck and Greg did an outstanding job of running this massive game.
I played with several other players on the Imperial side with the goal of destroying the Millennium Falcon before it could fly out of the cave it was hiding in with the other rebel ships. We succeeded in eventually knocking out the shield generator with an AT-AT. Subsequently the Millennium Falcon was destroyed when our forces could get a clear shot. A strategic victory was had for the Empire!
After this, it was on to setting up and running my Normandy Breakout game. I have really gotten this game to be a great gaming experience – based on both my opinion and consistent feedback from the players. This time, I had between 9 and 11 different players as some came and went.
The Germans made some very good decisions on terrain use and vehicle selection. The Allies did not choose enough reconnaissance vehicles, and were less effective using terrain as a whole. The Allies did not do a good job at crossing the table – with only a M10 Wolverine (by Dave Wood) and an M5 Stuart (by Buck Surdu) crossing the board. To be fair, the dice abandoned the Allies at a few critical junctures.
The Germans chose expensive vehicles, such as the Panther D (Greg Priebe), Jadgpanther (Andrew) and Tiger II (run by a woman known as April or “Queen Tiger” in the game), but used them effectively to stop the Allies. This put them in a points disadvantage, that they made up with their kills. Don Hogge’s used his SdKfz 233 very well to delay and harass the Allies. The Germans lost no vehicles, and the Allies lost a total of 5: a Dingo scout car, an M3A1 Stuart, an M10 Wolverine, and two 17-pounder Achilles. The Allies vehicle choices hurt them (not enough tanks and reconnaissance versus tank destroyers). This had not happened in previous runs, and is a testament to the German players having a good plan. The final score was 160-123 in favor of the Germans. I will continue to run this game – it has never been the same twice.
After picking up, the last game I played in was a Roman Circus Chariot game with rules by DeWitt. My chariot flipped and I lost – but it was fun!
And the flea market was outstanding!
Thanks to the HAWKS for a great weekend!
And thanks to you, dear reader, for looking – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
Back in 1978 and 1979, Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game Cosmic Encounters. According to the Lost Minis Wiki, at some point Archive Miniatures produced a line of figures for the board game. These included four catalog items: “Wrack” (#2101), “Oracle” (#2102), “The Mind and the Macron” (two figures for #2103) and “The Healer, Zombie, and Sorcerer” (three figures for #2104). I am not sure if that was a limited release as the research I could find on the 1977 version of Cosmic Encounter seemed to suggest that there were many alien races available for the game – many more than this page from the Lost Minis Wiki suggests were made. Cosmic Encounter continues to be sold and is available in its current configuration here.
In any case, I stumbled on the Macron three years ago, and managed at some point since to acquire a complete set including The Mind since then. My goal back then in acquiring the Macron figures was to have basically a squad of giant cosmonaut zombies for retro sci-fi games of Buck Surdu’s Combat Patrol™. Having The Mind as the unit leader controlling the giant zombie cosmonauts seemed to be a nice concept for a unit. I wanted a unit of ten, and I previously posted here how I made a mold and recast many more. I had since shared these with Buck and IRO as shown here and here respectively. I also wanted to complete these in September as part of Azazel’s“Scenic and Squaddie September ’19 Community Painting Challenge” that I try to share in when I can. Amazingly, it has been three+ years since I recast these figures, and I thought I’d better do something other than tanks for a bit! As an aside, this last month has been a bit crazy, as I had my 35th West Point reunion, job interviews, BARRAGE in Maryland, etc. I am hoping to catch up on reading others’ blogs and posting on the events of September soon! It’s been a while since I managed to complete a blog entry too.
Ironically, the Macron figures were sculpted by Nevile Stocken in 1979 – and the current president of France, Emmanuel Macron was born in 1977! So of any of you thought I was making that up, I have provided the links.
Back to the project – I found my recasts to be satisfactory, but I needed to do a good amount of filing and green stuff repairs to bring the recasts up to a good standard. The figures are large – about 2¼” (about 57mm for you metric types). The Mind is about half as high, but bulky. However, as these will be used as aliens, I can get away with them as giant cosmonaut zombies! I also have been looking at many posts from folks trying the new Contrast paints from Games Workshop. I thought this project would afford a nice opportunity to try them and learn about how best to employ them in the future.
I made this color palette for my Contrast Paints – and it was helpful.
So after varnishing – The Mind and The Macron – and their base colors – for your enjoyment:
The Mind (frontal view)
The Mind (rear view)
Blood Angels Red
And a couple of group shots:
My take on the contrast paints is quite similar to that of Azazel on his blog – he has a lot of experiments (he’s up to 12 at last look) and I did lean somewhat on his experiences a bit. I will use them as base coats when the figures need some pop – but I really think they are not a be all and end all line of products. Like every other paint/wash/glaze/ink etc., the user can find a niche – or a broad use – depending on the desire you have for the final product. I like what the contrast paints did here – but I don’t want to use them on a Tiger II! So, another tool in the kit bag – but I really think I’d want to continue to wash, shade, highlight, etc. on future projects.
Thanks for looking and hopefully you enjoyed reading about and seeing these. Let me know your thoughts, faves, (or least faves if you want!). I appreciate the feedback as always, and will be catching up on my blogging this week (I hope)!
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE FIGURES:
On Saturday, July 27th, the Mass Pikemen met for our monthly gaming session – this time it was another go at “Attack of the Warbots“. This game uses the Combat Patrol™ rules system, and the figures are Archive (from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s), Mega Miniatures (late 1990’s/early 2000’s), Wargames Supply Dump (now OOP), or my own creations. The links below for each can tell you more about them if you’re interested.
On the first turn, the Mark 1 above did not get to activate as no “5” came up. The Warbots chose not to pay one of their bonus chits to get a “5”. This allowed Leif to jet pack up a Space Roo with an RPG – who got a lucky hit and destroyed the tank.
Christine’s Aphids meanwhile took heavy fire from the Warbots and Juggerbots, and were in danger of being wiped out. The remaining Mark 1 approached the wall. Leif jet-packed a lone heroic Space Roo over the wall to attack the tank with a satchel charge, only to stun it. The Aphid Platoon Leader, Lt. Hemipteran, valiantly attacked the other side of the tank with a satchel charge, and the remaining Mark 1 brewed up from the explosion.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the board, Mike was making good progress with his Martians and his Roberker. Unfortunately for Roberker, a lucky Space Roo bullet hit his CPU, causing him to go rogue. In the game, a rogue robot attacks whatever he can see. Luckily for the attackers, he went rogue at the enemy Space Roos (commanded by Leif), who were eventually able to put him down with rifle fire and some of Christine’s Mortar duck supporting fire (called down ON TOP OF the Space Roos position). This was done with Leif’s approval – his Roos were valiant. Of course, several Roos bought the farm here.
Meanwhile, the Warbots on the other end managed to fire a plasma arc weapon and breach the wall such that one of Chris’ Warbot figures could go through at a time. Simultaneously, Leif successfully pulled some high cards and luckily repaired the captured Mark 1!
At this point, the game was called with a marginal victory for the Biological Alliance. They would have had to get the tank off the table, and there were Warbot reinforcements coming. My new ruined chemical plant had a lot of action!
Sometimes you need to try new materials, new techniques, and change up your hobby projects to keep fresh. My tabletop battlefield for my Attack of the Warbots game scenario (using the Combat Patrol™ rules system) needed some more ruined industrial terrain. I also wanted to try some new painting techniques with chipping medium, as well as using some crackle paint. The goal was to make something ruined, rusty, with some degree of verticality that would complement my tabletop.
As far as building materials, I had been saving different bits and pieces of this and that for a few years in anticipation of scratch-building something to meet that need. I say saving, my wife says hoarding – (it’s not hoarding if the stuff is organized, labelled, and put away out of sight in drawers dear😁). A previous employer had supplied us with kits that contained dummy vials (empty) that we could use to teach the process of reconstitution of the real thing. At one point years ago, because the FDA drug labeling had changed, and the packaging that the kits had on them was no longer valid, we were ordered to throw them away. I did, but threw the vials into a drawer. I also had some oddly-shaped caps from body sprays, and a purloined cover from my wife’s blow dryer. To be fair, the cover no longer stayed attached, so that was fair game. I also had bits of polystyrene sheets and tubes, and leftover foam rubber pads (packing material) from something I no longer remember. So basically, I had a lot of trash to work with.
“It’s for the more impressive scenery pieces. A desert oasis or a (ruined?) temple or a bunker complex or a single bunker or a skyscraper or a Ferratonic Incinerator or a Kwik-E-Mart. A forest worth of trees or a jungle worth of plants.”
So, dear reader, you can be the judge of this project as a “jewel”, or not. It will have some good points and some not – I hope that if you have some feedback (good, bad, or otherwise) that you share it so that I and others can learn.
Construction and Planning
I assembled the assorted junk, and made a plan. The glass vials I decided would work well glued together top-to-top as chemical tanks. I had two vials that were plastic that I scuffed up, and I removed any paper labeling from all of them. The blow dryer screen would be the centerpiece. Using a leftover piece of polystyrene sheet (Evergreen #9060 – .06″ thick), I plotted out a chemical plant symmetrically. I made two elevated concrete pads for the shorter vials with thinner polystyrene (Evergreen #9020 – 0.02″ thick) and the foam pads, and Plastruct Bondene. For the vials, my epoxy of choice was E6000, though that did leave a lot of glue strings to clean up later. The tubing was Evergreen 3/16″ #226, complemented by cut plastic straws. Applying E6000 to the strws made them relatively solid. I used green stuff as the piping joints. The plan for the vials was to sequentially prime, apply rust paints, apply chipping medium, apply metallic paints, chip, and rust. The bases were to be done using AK crackle paints, with washing and dry brushing.
I airbrush primed the piece with Vallejo Black primer, allowing 24 hours to dry. Then I airbrushed it with Vallejo Model Air “Rust” (#71.080).
I then applied a liberal coat of Citadel “Ryza Rust” and a different Vallejo “Rust” (#71.069) that I hoped would show a nice rust effect under the final color coats. Then, I applied Vallejo “Chipping Medium” over the rust. I was very unsure of the amount to use here, or the pressure with which apply it with the air brush. Add to that the dry time, which I gave 24 hours – too much? I don’t know. Due to the terrain piece’s layout, it was also hard to get into all the areas with the chipping medium.
The rust on one side…
…and the other.
I then chose the final metallic colors for the vials, the pipes, the caps, and the screen. Those, and the other materials, you can see listed at the end of this post. I applied a caot of gloss black to the base to assist later “crackling”.
At this point, I applied water with a stiff toothbrush to the vials, and that was supposed to cause the chipping. It did some places, but not everywhere. I had to resort to a toothpick in a lot of places, and that pulled ALL of the paint off. As repair, I used Citadel “Typhus Corrosion” trying to simulate rusted leaking tanks. I washed the vials with a light rust wash, and that turned the purple tanks pink/orange! I went back to the Typhus corrosion and tried to compensate.
Then, I needed to add the two different crackle paints, along with washes and highlights. Before that, I applied a gloss varnish to help the crackling effect and to help protect the chipping effects. I knew I could use a matte varnish later to dull it up.
Finally, I airbrushed the piece with Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”. As I had foam rubber part of the piece, I needed to avoid any use of rattle cans to prevent a real chemical meltdown!
So, do I have a “Jewel of July” here. Maybe at least a garnet anyways. I think this is OK for the tabletop, given that it was basically made of trash. It hits the game tabletop today!
If you want to see a real “Jewel” – check out Alex’s piece here. THAT is impressive!
Back to my project, I was somewhat disappointed at the Vallejo “Chipping Medium”. I could not find much information on its use, and a lot of that was negative. The AK crackle paints are very good in my opinion, and I will look to see if they have a chipping product.
Any feedback – especially any thoughts on my process and the product – is always appreciated. As always, hope you enjoyed this post.
PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THIS PROJECT:
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!