Monday, December 31, 2007

Diplomacy is done.

For now I have resigned from that little Diplomacy game.

The first difficulty came in one player not understanding the orders issuing proceedures, then missing the very first move of the game.

The game moderator did the right thing and put the player's nation into civil disorder and left the pieces where they started.

The player then whined and got a 'do over' that was bolluxed up and was in any event a totally wrong-headed decision in my view, though only three other players spoke up and to my knowledge only two were in favor of allowing this.

Then we completely re started, well not really 'completely' we were supposed to go on with prior things negotiated, but since the player's nation was NOT COMMUNICATING at all during the first phases of the first try this was not the right thing to do. Moreover I thought that we should have randomly 're-set' our nations, but the others just wanted to get on with it.

Sigh, the first decision was the right one and I stand by the moderator for making it.

The crap that followed just started to piss me off and rather than become difficult I resigned from the situation, as this way I reduce my stress and do not hand over any to anyone else.

The game is still a good one and in my humble view best played "IN PERSON".

Saturday, December 29, 2007

ZOOM IN ON ME

So this post will be a continuation of the current project of some more Infantry and one force of Light Dragoons.

This time I chose to take closer pics of a few minis to show some of the progress.

Nothing done today on the horses, as I wanted to get the men all ready for their ink layers at the same time as the horses get theirs.

For those asking I use Liquitex and GOLDEN acrylics from tubes, commonly called 'poster paints', I think.


I mix all my own colours, so matching in the future will simply be a matter of testing the new mix'n'match with the old one.

I had used the little pots of paint from Plaka "Poly S" ones and some from Testors and from GW, the problem was a constant need to either 'thin out' the ever thickening paint or to do some of my own mixing anyways to get the shading right.


So I have given up on the little pots that are always going dry and use the tubes, the cost is lower and I find that my speed and quality of painting have both improved. At first I was thinking that I was going to go slower with all the extra mixing I had to do, but a little eyedropper (from an old bottle of green ink) and a large plastic coated palette have contributed to a faster, not a slower system of paint applications.

Happy New Brush Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another year and another Gingerbread house.

This time, very simple and fast.

We will likely eat it today at another gathering...

Sadly all this has meant a real cramp in the time available to PAINT.

Only the basic colours have been applied to the troops and the 'under-colour' to the horses is done.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

X-mas painting update:

All base coated, now first blocking layers filled in.


Also the first 'undercoat' done for the speed painted horses.





X-mas painting project:

Some light Dragoons (for early peninsular British and other actions), a couple of Spanish//Portuguese formations of 'irregular' forces (also good as Austrian Landwehr), a large force of Jagers or Grenzers along with another troop (with extra foot command//brigadiers) in tricornes that will end up with white coats!

(just for Jeff of course)

I was too busy with little boys and other preparations over the past few days to post, and I have not yet done the graphics for me magnets ideas. So those posts will have to wait while I get some much needed paint-time in!




This lot will feature more horses, so once again you will get to see that 'fast' painting method for horses.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12 DAYS of CHRISTMAS.

Only because I really do not otherwise like the sappy rest of the greetings and songs that seem to permeate this time of year.



Have a good one eh!

p.s. oh and ask Bluebear Jeff where he lost his general too!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

WORKBENCH:

Using mini-neodymium (rare earth) magnets for miniatures bases.


I have written briefly about the use of magnets that I do for my 25mm minis but the details are not all clear, so I shall now try to explain it all.

My first thoughts about using the magnets were to 'glue' the magnets to regular wooden movement bases (using cyanoacrilate or super-glue). I did it with the first 50 or so bases and then covered the entire base with my normal flocking materials. It was difficult and messy, since the magnets are so strong I had to attach them in stages, otherwise they would 'jump' onto one another and the glue would stick them that way permanently. I did end up with one stack of two magnets that I could not separate fast enough, though only one in about 500 magnets was pretty good I thought.

These first ones I still use from time-to time, mainly whenever the battles are really large, since I have switched to a new system.

I decided that the wooden bases were not 'flexible' enough, since the magnets were permanently attached. So I set on a new plan, sheet metal bases in 20 gauge satin coat steel.



This is really the best part, I had decided that I wanted the system to also allow for the 'commands' and 'unit designations' to be visible to players while on the tabletop. The basic concept comes from the Napoleons' Battles game "Introduction to miniatures games", in this they suggest the 'tags' system using a sheet of paper tags that get taped to the bottom of the movement stand and 'bent' up showing the relevant game data. Essentially just unit designation data, since the 15mm minis bases are so small.

In order to get this 'bent' tag I decided to have 300 small 60-degree (thus two sides of a triangle) "L-shaped" 1 inch wide brackets made of the same sheet steel. The cost for the tags was very high compared to the flat small shapes, but what a difference they make!

I can now identify any unit in any way, what I do before the battle is print off, on magnetic paper, all the units (in the samples here) identification, battle numbers, movement figures, and for commanders - even a small actual picture of the historical commander!




The magnets are more than powerful enough to hold a single 25mm man sized mini, in the case of cavalry, I use two magnets, for artillery and commanders three. All of my minis have steel 'fender washers' under them. I have been doing this part for years, ever since the Star Wars Miniatures Battles System (1991) suggested doing this for 'stability' and to mark the 'reach' for contact purposes in man-to-man games. The metal and magnets are covered in simple grass paper, I am still using up an old grass paper mat that I first got to cover my table with. In the future I am planning to make some very textured newer stand covers for the men to march on. To date only sun fading has been a problem and no 'friction' marks can be seen on any of the grass paper covers.




I am now seeing more possibilities for the minis mounted this way, as all I need to do in order to switch game systems (for those with different basing systems) is to get more metal bases that match the different system's size. For skirmish games I am already set as all I need to do is 'not' use the bases and let the minis march separately.


I have also just used another larger fender washer and some grass paper mat cut to the right size for a command 'marker' flag that Bluebear Jeff's Tricorne Wars rules calls for.

Other possibilities are starting to come to light now, with Naval actions becoming visible on my horizon I am looking into systems that will integrate these magnets and metal bases so that the 'book-keeping' of many naval rules systems all takes place ON THE MINIATURE ship/base-stand and, if possible, there will be no paperwork at all for the active players. More on this later....

Remember all you need do is clik on a pic to see it larger!

Cheers

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ambitious Plans for 2008:

These may end up being too ambitious, but then here goes:

Minimum: Casting, basing and painting 400 British for early Peninsular Action; and 48 Portuguese for a game to be played in August 2008 = Vimero. (I may have to add a few French to the 16 regiments needed, but I am reasonably certain that I have enough blue coated French to cover these needs). Some of the Britishers will be done for commercial sale at a couple of consignment places and online (in order to pay for the casting metal and supplies for the others).

Target: All of the above "Minimum" and : At a minimum casting by end of September: Austrians: 48 Hussars, 24 Jagers, 60 Grenadiers, 560 Line Infantry, 8 Grenzers, 48 Landwehr, 20 Volunteers, 20 Cheveauxlegers, 4 Uhulans, 24 Cuirassiers, 12 Dragoons, 3 Heavy Foot Guns, 10 Foot Guns, 5 Horse Guns, 57 Gunners. All of these Austrians are for use in 2009 at Aspern-Essling & Wagram games planned for the spring, summer and fall of 2009 (with a Talevera to cap it all off!). These are more of the bi-centennials of primary Napoleonic Battles. Though if I can find 2-6 internet players for the 5th Coalition game(s) then the battles faught may not be at exactly the same places as they were historically!
Any takers?
eMail me at: arcadian@umpire.com.

Outrageous: Casting, painting and basing all the Austrians needed for the coming 2009 games by December 31 2008! This, of course, would leave plenty of room for finishing the tabletop games plans and sorting out the strategic elemens for the 5th Coalition Campaign plans!

Feel free to attack these very ambitious plans as I know they are a real stretch for only 1 year as well as having a life and keeping gainfully employed or otherwise feeding my hungry army of a family.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Quebec 1759:
A game play sample.

So as promised earlier I have now played at least six games of Quebec, admittedly they are all vs. my son Alex (who is 8) and is really still learning the game of 'bluff'.

The game uses elements similar to all the 'block games' in production from Columbia games (though this one like Napoleon was released in the 1970's by Tom Dalgleish) like Napoleon, Sam Grant and Bobby Hill along with the WWII series of 'fronts' West, East, Med etc...

This game also includes a very 'diplomacy' element in written orders are issued for troop movements and revealed simultaneously.

I like that element as it makes for a game of bluff as well as the tactical battle, since you can choose to move only from one map position at a time...

Todays games were played out in about 35-45 minutes each. Alex got to womp me for the first time playing as he finally took control of the british forces and correctly guessed (on move 1 no less!). That game was over rather quickly as I could not seem to roll a '6' for a hit in my first 25-40 dice rolls.

The next game was a re-do for me in the French position, this time I was certain to not have the invader get in on the north shore of the St Laurence, then Alex discovered bluffing, and began to move his ships and men around to get me to move out from my defences.

It very nearly worked, only this time he guessed wrong and I was able to hold Quebec long enough to win.

Then we switched sides, this time I was again the British (we played 3 games before a few weeks ago) and I recalled the general power of these forces, managed to force the Beauport shore defences (unlike Wolfe whom was thrown off these trenches) and shoved all my troops in there. I hammered into St Charles, but since crossing the river is the same as naval landing (with lots of defencive 'pre-battle' firing) I chose to raid along the south shore and nacker the Militia troops wearing Alex's army out before finally attacking.

When the assault came the extra defensive die rolls were not so bad as Alex was down to only 3 effective units.

All in all the game is a great overview of the situation in Quebec and what the 'thinking' would have been like during those weeks of summer and fall in 1759.

It would most certainly make a good 'backdrop' control for a grand strategic game with the battles being faught out using tabletop minis. It could also be used in a 'giant' tabletop covering the north shore region and 'assuming' the south shore positions...maybe even forcing the 'british' player to have to look at the map layout from the other side of the room before deciding where to attempt landing(s).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Final run of brushworks for now:

At last I have cleared all the backlog of painting works.

The TITAN is finished as are a little 'mob' that I plan to use in the coming Peninsular Conflicts game at Dak-Kon in February 2008.



I was unable (too tired) to post this progress picture of the mob and gunners on monday night, they were just about to get the gloss coating. You can see the 'dauber' I use rather than the 'dip' and 'fling' process. I am unwilling to try the 'fling' part since I have the minis stuck to the painting sticks it makes 'dipping' rather hard also. So I have adopted a cotton ball stuck between two sticks, held in place with old elastics, to use as my polyshades applicator, then I wipe off excess. So far the system has only had one blunder with too much polyurethane left on one white coat (making it rather brown, like the poor man had fallen into the mud!).

Interestingly the progress report arrived in the post today and my eldest son Alex's name was on it. He was absolutely tickled and read through it avidly, then got a pen and was ready to make the t-shirt order along with getting his membership confirmed! He wants to attend both days this year...we shall see as he is still only 8 and needs that sleep time or can be a real bear the next day.

Check out Dak-Kon information board and my little page for them.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Blazing brushes!

Between shoveling trips (one of them to break the snow wall thrown up by the plow at the end of the driveway) I have been busy with brushworks.

Almost complete are 6 'mob' characters and a Spanish artillery crew that will be used in the coming Peninsular Conflict game in February.


Final work was done on the Titan (astute readers will recall him from last year!), with only flocking to go for him, I hold on the flocking works until all minis are ready so that when I mix up the flocking materials I can do-up all at once.
Snow and more SNOW!

I managed to get some finishing work done on the 'gift' items (that I will post pics of later, after they are presented in person).

Along the way though we got 47 cm (over 18" for those imperial folks of snow. This is unusual for this area, and today we expect 5-8 cm more (another 2-3").

I had to dig out our car so that my bride could go to work...I chose to cancel my plans.

Later I needed to dig out room to cut firewood, not so bad as we get to have a warm place to 'watch' the snow fall from.


Finally another dig-out so that my wife could get home, she then went out to a performance of the Nutcracker with our middle son (4 years old).

Upon her return I took some photos of the general situation.


This morning, brings more snow and the threat of freezing rain...looks like my brushes might get to work on finishing more projects! (look for pics tonight).