How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Poodle attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cold Wars 2018 - Flea Market Tips and Cool Terrain

Cold Wars 2018
"Holy Wars and Those Who Fought Them"
Joan of Arc Statue

I wasn't thinking of going at all, until a gaming buddy said he was heading to Cold Wars to sell at the flea market, aka "Wally's Basement". Seemed it might be a good opportunity to make more progress on "Operation Project Reduction" [CLICK], especially with Gary's guidance. Uncertain, I checked with him to see if he'd be willing to split one of the two tables he and his dad were getting. I also checked with an old trooper pal to see if he'd like to get together, and if I could stay over at his place [8 minutes from the convention, conveniently enough]. When both were affirmative a few days before the 'con, so there wasn't any more room for excuses! 

I dug into boxes / bins with the criteria "anything that won't be used this or next year, and is replacable, is a flea market possibility"
It was of course a pain - there was more than I remembered having. Stuff was disorganized, sometimes dirty, and inconveniently hidden under other boxes since we moved here almost three years ago. I ended up taking the opportunity to also sort thru the garage, despite cold weather: consolidated storage bins, found boxes of resin 25mm West European buildings by Hovels [including a complete, mint La Haye Sainte] and 28mm sci-fi terrain, and brought my Necron project indoors. I also made a pile of stuff I didn't think I'd be using anytime soon [in this year, or next year], and that could be replaced if the project appealed in the future.

It's best to sort in a clean, large space - so the formal dining room I'd just thoroughly cleaned was the staging area. I organized and packed best I could, threw useful items into a little storage tub [sharpie, tape, sticky pads and such]. Friday was the day I planned to arrive, and I finished up by working all morning organizing and checking item prices on the internet; 50% of retail for new items, and "wing it" on used items. 

As I finished up, I had a sudden inspiration - to use all the proceeds for charitable giving, and made a sign saying as much, including listing the names of the likely local charities. Hopefully, this would give that little bit of extra incentive to people who were undecided or liked to drive a hard bargain! Finally, tossed in three mixed boxes of books that were unsorted for good measure, then packed my car up fully - just below the level of visual impairment by the time a hand truck and overnight bag went in.

Got there on Friday evening to find that I couldn't register for the next day at the registration desk! They quite helpfully told me to do it with my smart phone, then skip the line the next day. So, went to my friend's and we had enjoyable evening getting caught up, including going out to dinner. Before sleep, I spent a while pre-registering with my smart phone. It did work and the new site is pretty efficient - thankfully!

Next day, I promptly showed up and parked at 0740. I printed out my badge and met Gary at 0800, and we checked out the space which was unfortunately the Theater. Thankfully, there is an elevator and it WAS made available to us, or I don't know how I could've dragged all my junk upstairs! I was settled in with Gary by 0830, and the staff volunteers were really helpful and easy to deal with, which was a relief - no petty tyrants ruling their fiefdom with an iron fist! I spread things out as best as I could, within the rules, and tried to relax and enjoy the process. Have to say, I prayed Friday and Saturday morning that all would go well and had prayer support from others!

I hate selling anything live in person, but have had to get better at it over the years. Eventually, my patter evolved into:
- ask people who stopped to look, or who were walking by very slowly, if there was something in particular they were looking for. If yes, and I didn't have any, I told them so and steered them elsewhere if possible. [interestingly, most were "I don't know, just seeing if anything catches my eye"!]
- If yes, I told them about the 50% off all new items, and pointed out the sign that all proceeds were going to charity. Used items I encouraged people to go thru and make a pile for a final "total discount".
- I then pitched prices to people. By reactions, it was pretty clear if it was more, less or about what they expected. Some dickered, but I also pointed out that 50% off was a great discount and that I was trying to raise money, then I'd give a bit more off, even if just a few bucks.
- overall, I encouraged people to grab more items [especially rule sets and books] to build UP to a reasonable price point of $5 or more.
Generally speaking this worked pretty well - several thanked me for explaining what I was selling, and most bought something if not all. As many people didn't have something they specifically wanted, they were really just looking for a deal. I tried to steer people to the complete projects I had.

Eventually, business got pretty, well, busy! I got more and more people to hang out and shoot the breeze a bit, and that made it more fun. I ran into several people I knew, some of whom bought things. It went well enough first round that I stayed for the second, paid $25 for my own table, and then repeated the process. I was pretty exhausting, but went well - 
I raised $1,010 for local charities - thanks everyone!

Useful tips and items:

  • Next time, plan months in advance - saves money.
  • Run a game or two - saves money!
  • Get a hand-truck that can also be a dolly with handle!
  • Bring bungee cords!
  • Bring something soft to stand on, and a cushioned stool to sit on while at eye level with people.
  • Bring a card with my blogs on them [use free card service].
  • Bring $20 in 1's, $50 in 5's and $100 in 20's for change.
  • Pre-register! I renewed my HMGS membership, which is a no-brainer discount if you attend more than one 'con.
  • Go Friday early, stay overnight with friend, stay all Saturday [maybe Saturday night].
  • Organize and price everything out more carefully.
  • Bag books / rules / etc with multiple parts.
  • Have a bin of "Everything is $1" sitting in front.
  • Price armies / bags / blisters by the fig - $1, $1.50, whatever.
  • have a cool picture of the model / figs / etc and outline the retail price of the project, then the discount, clearly.
  • Park to the right, near the handicap entrance!
  • Stick with the "charitable giving" theme - seems to help [hey, had prayer support, too!].

I then got to wander around the 'con a bit more, adding to my pics of various games and the terrain they made, especially. Here's some sights:

Micro-armor terrain sets above and below. I like the templates but not the roads.

Below, more micro armor, including Great Northern War 2020?

Anyone recognize what's on the dice cup below???

OK, so this IS 1/285 or 6mm, but manga battlesuits are fighting in Tokyo [or somewhere]. City terrain by "Cityscape", looks really good - quite 40K up close...

Switching to 15mm here, I think these are Team Yankee boards.

ACW on a light green pet fur cloth - not bad, but I'd switch to a brown one.

15mm WWI - nice work with the craters matching the ground, makes it blend well. The "yellow" smoke / fires are actually fake votive candles - looked awesome!

Upping in size to 25-28mm. Raid into Bergen Cty, NJ. Like the job with the pet fur cloth, and the roads blend nicely. Had to photo this 'cause I was born in Bergen Cty NJ!

Ancient Imperial Romans v. Gauls / Germans. One big cloth almost 30' long! Huge buildup with insulating foam below, I'd say the hill is at least a foot higher than the edges.

Bootlegger gang wars in 28mm. Nicely carved board with panels - has a retro "toy soldier" look to it, but overall, I don't like the lines of the panels [plus they wear with handling].

Frostgrave game - amazing terrain. The ice flows are some sort of foam padding cut - nothing else added!

28mm Napoleonics - great job with fur cloth. Light spray painting, trees go thru the bottom and are held by magnets - clever! Plastic tree trunks with bit of fluff [doll stuffing?] spray painted. Sort of an abstract look, but not bad. Not articulated enough for foliage, IMHO>

Kids games were scattered around - much more likely I'll take my son at some point with this stuff for him to play in. Below, Frog Wars using Eureka figs and toys. Nice looking table!

Dig the snail with howdah!

Lego Pirates - 25mm?? Let's argue about this scale...

And gaining size, Sash and Saber 40mm figures, American Revolution. Nice!
Pet fur fields, spray painted. Pretty good appearance of fallow fields. Fences look like wood matches, but could be loads and loads of balsa wood.

Finally, 54mm figs from "All the Kings Men" who are throwing a game. Toy Soldier maximus!!

Overall, a great time, had a bunch of conversations, got some "thanks for your service" from supportive gamers, and a few positive comments from people at the flea market, especially one cop who was blown away that I was giving the money away and said something like "Nobody does this...everybody should do this", so I can attest that it was a pretty spiritual time, and I feel great having gotten rid of about half what I want to unload. There was _some_ temptation to get stuff, but I wouldn't be getting to any of it before Historicon or Cold Wars, so why bother??

I think I will try to make Historicon. It is a bit close to AT this year, but it should be manageable - may bring Mr. Winkie with me, I think he'd have fun.

Monday, March 5, 2018

"Come to Jesus Moment" for Wargame Projects

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, 
     and I will give you rest." Matthew 12:28

File:Cristo Redentor statue in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.JPG

This is what my old crime unit sergeant used to call that "moment of truth" for perps we were after, where something had to give - and it was going to be them. Quick Google search says something like:

The phrase is based on your choice at the moment you decide to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It also has a secular meaning: a "come to Jesus moment" refers to a dawning, epiphany or agreement following a disagreement.

So yes, this is an "additional dawning" following choices previously put forward here on this blog [click] to be both better focused and to avoid fruitless spending of time, money and energy.

  1. 40 gaming projectscould be a few too many?
  2. Drop some unique projects, emphasize cross-over [e.g. the figures/basing can be used in multiple sets of rules that I am playing or may play, or the Terrain can be used in multiple scales and periods].
  3. Drop: dead-end projects and those without plans for the next year or so, and larger scales for smaller, cheaper, portable scales in future [e.g. 28mm sci-fi for 15mm sci-fi].
  4. Fast-play: Easy sharing / hosting, smaller space, simpler, look good, newbies
  5. Skirmish / small Units [FUBAR, WAI Skirmish] 40mm & 54mm Colonial Plastics.

  1. Modern micro-armor [terrain crosses over to 15mm desert, FFL & Arabs]
  2. WWII 15mm land
  3. Medievals: Dark Ages --> Feudal Wales [Saxons, Vikings, Normans crossover for Lord of the Rings fantasy, etc]
  4. 6mm ACW [some terrain crossover with micro armor]
  5. Skirmish: Star Wars plastics [shares terrain with Medieval 25mm], 54mm Plastics
  6. Space Fleets: Star Wars plastic
I think I can live with 6 projects, half of which are cooking on the top burner...

Below is the 40 projects, some of which are already on line for sale [italics]

  1. Urban War [on eBay - CLICK]
  2. War of Spanish Succession 28mm plastics
  3. 28mm Brits v. Taliban, Empress TAG metals
  4. Star Wars scale ships Odyssey Slipways
  5. Games Workshop 40K & Fantasy [listed below]
  6. GMC / Judge Dredd gangers
  7. Extra copy of Space Hulk [project below]
  8. Mantic Greenskins
  9. Thunder Mountain Arthurians
  1. Warhammer Fantasy Projects--Chaos Dwarfs
  2. --Empire
  3. --Greenskins
  4. --Chaos
  5. --Brettonians
  6. 28mm Sci-Fi: terrain, objects vehicles, Warhammer 40K
  7. --Space Marines
  8. --Necrons --> Terminator Project instead?
  9. Board games: Squad Leader [all], Cry Havoc!, Wooden Ships and Iron Men
  10. Ral Partha in tub
  11. Age of Sail 1/100
TO KEEP – for now [6]
  1. WWI Naval
  2. 40mm Dark Ages
  3. War of Roses / 100YW project
  4. Pershing / Pancho 25mm
  5. Space Hulk [Catachens, Steel Legion, Necrons]
  6. 25mm Chariot Biblical Wars
IF ANY OF THE ABOVE PROJECTS INTEREST YOU, CONTACT ME...mostly looking for cash, but if something gels with the below projects, would consider a trade.

TO KEEP [16]
  1. 15mm WWII
  2. --Italians: desert and continental,
  3. --British desert,
  4. --USA: generic [Tunisia, LW]
  5. --Germans: LW/generic, Tunisia/desert
  6. 15mm Greeks
  7. 18mm Testudo Romans & Gauls
  8. 15mm FFL & Arabs
  9. WWII Naval 1/700, 1/2400
  10. 6mm ACW
  11. 25mm Dark Ages, Feudals, Late Romans
  12. 28mm LoTR [to fight OG 25mm medievals, mass bases + some characters]
  13. 40mm Pike and Shot
  14. WoC  Star Wars plastic figs
  15. WoC  Star Wars plastic ships
  16. 1/285 Modern Micro-Armor
  17. 54mm Armies in Plastic Colonial Skirmish

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Marshal Winkie takes on the Frogs: OHW Scenario #14

Well, it's a rainy day and for Christmas, a veteran friends of mine gave Winkie all his plastic napoleonics that he bought up when the local train & hobby store close years ago [all too common event around here]. Winkie spent a number of hours over the Holy-days gluing the little fellows onto card, and then they sat there for weeks, mostly b/c I was away with the 1:1 Army. Today he is excited to take to the field in Scenario #14 Static Defense!

Obvious battlefield. French have artillery on Hill and two infantry in front. Two skirmishers in the woods, and two more infantry on the other side holding the Town. 

This looks pretty tough for only 6 Stinking English, but they have help from the Scots! Three Line Infantry to left in series of lines. Howitzers to rear with two Scots in front.

Rules are OHW with minimum clarifications [click] but using the 3-dice system, hitting on a 4+ typically, a 5+ if a long-range or difficult or partial shot, and a 3+ for cannister / close range. Nothing else added except that Units can move and shoot - have to work with the Marshal's patience level! 
I think the colored daguerrotype below came out rather well - shall send to Mummy.

Turn 1. General advance with shooting around the line - lots of misses, so clearly there was some early morning fog obscuring the lines, worsened by the gunsmoke. Frogs refuse to surrender - in fact, they sneer, make rude gestures and use naughty words! Riff-raff!

Turn 2. Advance continues into short range. Casualties start to mount, including the skirmishers on the left side of the woods fall to the well-disciplined volleys of the Scots at close range. The cannon boom through the formations, shells whizz overhead!

Turn 3. The French Infantry line breaks! Despite heavy casualties, the forward English lines hold, showing the stern stuff our boys are made of - huzzah!

Turn 4. Gunsmoke fills the field, the air is heavy and oppressive. The Line advance against the guns on the hill, casualties are mounting. The Scots hammer home another volley and the lights in the woods flee from their skulking dells and barrows.

Turn 5. The French near the Town are re-positioning to contest the English advance. Two proud line battalions, veterans of numerous campaigns against Austria, Russia, and Shleswig-Holstein [well, that was a very short campaign, really]. For Joseph Boney-parts! they shout, the Scots hearing them distinctly across the fields.

Turn 6. With tremendous discipline born of complete confidence in their officers, the British advance, led by the Scots who deliver a devestating volley against the first French regiment. Blue coats drop like flies, "sacre-bleu" they cry, "these skirts are terrifying!"

Turn 7. The English line advance across the Hill objective they've secured. One objective is NOT enough! cries Marshal Winkie, "I want them all for England and St. George!" "Bother St. George" cry the Scots, we'll take the Town for St. Andrew and wine stores!

Turn 7. French deliver withering volleys upon hearing the Scottish intent to deprive them of their vintage comfort. Plaid flies in all directions as the Scots advance to the rear. The second Scot battalion positions itself to cover the advance, firing volleys into the underbrush where French skirmishers lurk. Will they be able to support the line?

Turn 8. Scots continue to move up. English re-form the line, and deliver precise, orderly volleys, driving the French from the field, threats to wine or no. Only the skirmishers stand in the way of total victory! Meanwhile, the howitzers have been badly handled, receiving confusing orders and dashing to and fro with little firing.

Turn 9. The skirmishers have fled into the town, and from there, snipe at the near English battalion, causing it "to think again". Scots advance, bent on revenge - and wine.

Turn 10. Seeing the array headed to them with bloody intent, the skirmishers flee at the first volley. They grab a bottle apiece as they dash off, driving their supply horses ahead of them so they can have a bit of meat tonight with their wine and cheese.

Well, that was a good bit of fun. I gave M. Winkie the choice of advancing against the town or the hill, and he chose the hill. The attacker has depth in the Horse and Musket period, despite skirmishers being available to the defense. Without them, I think it would have been a rollover. Also, more skirmishers would have made this very difficult.

One-Hour Wargames continues to satisfy, even using bare-bones rules. The best $12 I ever spent! Marshal Winkie had fun, too.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

AWI: Trial Basing for Hessians complete

OK, so after successfully spraying the bases, I have the two battalions mounted and ready to work with. The figs are lightly glued on with pvc / Elmer's , so will snap off easily for an alternative arrangement should I dislike this one after using it for a bit. 

Below: Musketeer Regt. Von Donop. Four "Divisions" of 6-7 figures, with halberd-toting NCOs keeping things in order. Command by Sash and Saber, Figs by Old Glory.

Same, more of a forward angle and "gamer's eye view" at my table.

Below: Fusilier Regt. Von Lossberg. All figs Old Glory. The S&S command figs are just a bit more animated and have just a bit more character. They do have some odd proportions, including an officer who's a bit of a pinhead and large, chunky legs. As they wear black gaiters, it isn't a big deal, but something to keep in mind. Judge for yourself if you like them!

Same, more of a gamer's eye view of the unit.

It may be hard to tell from the above pics due to the lens distortion of the camera, but all the figures are afixed to the base so that every part of them - including arms, swords, anything that sticks out - is entirely WITHIN the edge of the base. This way they won't bang into figures when they are fighting my units, anyway. This is one of my new rules of basing, about which I have said so much in "Spear to the Strife".

Now, the battalions form for action! Lossberg up front flanked by the 3lb battalion guns, with Donop entering the field of battle, conveniently passing in review of their British general.

"Salutations Herr Ingles Nook! the Von Lossberg battalion is here to turn the tide in favor of King George III - where shall we deploy to rout the rebels?"
"My Compliments, Col. Witezell. Do put your command onto the line of battle over there."

Von Donop marching into the table, erhm, field of battle.

The Fusiliers is eyeballing the supporting guns, "pew-pew!"

But the advance is not without casualties. Mein Gott! The Ober gefreitenstagfrankenfuhrer ist Kaput!!"

"I said get in step, dumpfkopf!!! Or I will put this pike where sun not shine!" Sergeants...same all over.

*Look, Johann still can't keep the step* Think the drummer and NCO to left

I like to have little vignettes on these big bases when possible, even if it is just a simple story. The command figs from Sash & Sabre cost more, but I think they're worth it due to their characterful poses and animation. However, it can get repetitive...I can't have every regiment with this same vignette, right? So a mix of command figs is preferable.

Gaming Frontage. The large battalions take up almost two feet with their little guns. My office table has about 4x3' of space, so I think I will actually be able to get away with some "imagi-nation" playing of OHW scenarios. The extra width of the Units [NT recomments up to 6" for a Unit, these are 8"] will be accomodated by the extra table width. I will almost certainly shorten the ranges, also, for a 4" short and 8" long range.

This has me pretty motivated now! They look good and are clearly "a Blue team", so I'm thinking of going White with AWI French as well. Getting them will enable me to do actions in the Americas and the Islands. Some of the local guys already have plenty of Brits and Americans, so I'll save those brigades for later.

So I'm thinking the Hessians need:
- Grenadiers,
- Lt. Cavalry

The French would need:
- 4 Battalions
- Guns
- Lt. Infantry [Go Green with Queens Rangers...I've a book about them that will without doubt have me wanting to paint the regiment!]
- Lt. Cavalry [continue Green with Queen Ranger cav]

This would give me a full OHW force for both sides, so I can do some imagi-nation fighting in Europe as well as the Americas. Heck, may as well throw in some Indians in the future. And I'll be able to contribute forces with the guys that I don't think any of them have.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cold-Weather Basing: Spray Paint...In the House!?

OK, so it is time to get moving on some Hessian basing...but I realize I've no bases ready. 

I scrounge around, and find ten bases 2x3" which I think will suit, per last post. However, they are not painted. As they are little more than compressed cardboard / wood / mdf? whatever, I am sure that a good wetting will ruin them, and I don't want that. For their flaws with the beveling [looks cool, hard to pick up] the plastic FoW bases are at least build to last.

So, my goal is to get good bases, seal them properly with paint, then make them worth looking at long-term! My poison of choice is still "Make it Suade!" for that "oh so 70s" look, but it happens to exactly match my gaming cloth that I typically use, and the browns make the greens and other highlights "POP!" on camera for the blog etc.

One problem - it is snowing, and the temperature is in the 'teens this whole week. Yet, it is New Year's Day and I want to make a big splash with moving forward on gaming projects! Yet spray painting "Make it Suade!" in the house is not a great idea b/c it stinks like heck! I could heat the garage up with a space heater for a couple hours, but that only gets it into the 50s, and it takes forever - plus it makes me nervous not being able to see what's going on with a space heater personally. 

I need a better solution that will insure maximum drying time yet not get me into trouble with Home 6. Thinking...

In the garage is a huge piece of the furnace room there's a small fan,,,first floor bathroom is rarely used...hmmmm.

Cardboard is in bathroom, it opens up on the one side like a double-door.

Cut in half and stacked it makes a nice little chute to channel spray paint stink out the window. I need something to hold this contraption up at window level and grab Home 6s drying rack which is just the right height! Flip the other half of the box and now have a tunnel.

Still, this will stink. Counter-stink measures include: Sandlewood scented candle in nearby kitchen, cinnamon candle in nearly living room, and mistletoe scented candle in even closer dining room. OK OK, so it will be a confounded melange of scent, but who cares???

OK, some cross-venting will do, from the foyer to the dining room...just 2" or so...

What a confounded idjit! I set all this up and now can't reach the window to open it...and it is locked...I grab an old crutch we have laying in the play room [kid likes playing with it...really!] and ta-daaa! latch is open, window is open [note snow falling], fan is placed. I also place small space heater next to me, creating a waft of hot air heading to the window where the fan is blowing it out. I spray the bases on the diagonal, as it is more efficient - I only have to do one side on diagonal then the other.
Of course, I flip bases over after an hour as I want no side of the base to be vulnerable to moisture. The space heater is perfect, makes the air very hot and very dry, and somehow wins over the fresh air wafting in from outside. I spray again.

Another hour later, the second side is dry. They still smell a funny, but that can be helped. I put the dry bases [they are dry, but still the paint is "settling" you might say] in the furnace room on fresh cardboard on top of the returned drying rack. The one with paint and stink on it goes - outside.

I fold up the cardboard, remove the fan, tidy up and ta-daaa! Bathroom looks fine!

Just don't look in the shower, please!

This worked very well! total time was about 3-4 hours to set up, spray two sides, and have the items dry enough to handle, ie not tacky at all.

We never use the downstairs shower, so I can just leave all this in there. I've now got a few more spray projects in the works [including 15mm WWII and modern micro armor], and it really doesn't take long at all!

So to summarize:

  1. small room, easily vented to outside with small fan.
  2. space heater, cardboard "tunnel" to channel the spray "mist" outside.
  3. good height to window...a drying rack worked here.
  4. Open window, turn on fan, spray  with door closed. Exit upon completion.
  5. Drying time about an hour.
  6. Spray other side. Drying time another hour.
  7. Once dry enough to handle, leave overnight in furnace room to really get the paint dried out.
  8. Next day, ready to use!
Wife arrived home from trip, didn't comment on any funny smells at all. Not that she's particularly blessed to have a keen power of scent, but still, "Make it Suade!" is the Blackbeard's Delight of paint scents, so...

Mission Accomplished!