Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sailing on Fathers Day Weekend

 My son came in to visit on Father's Day and we spent most of the Saturday before sailing on the Bay.  It was a spectacular day and maybe the best Father's Day present ever!
 The waters were very crowded with detestable power boats - including this little one from New Zealand - we actually got to watch the helicopter land on the damn thing.
 The Selina was also out on the Bay.  Selina is a classic "cat-boat design - single sail / mast up on the bow and is a tourist charter.  I've had some very nice dinner cruises on her before getting my own boat.

 Hard to see but this a classic power boat design
 An oyster boat.
It was great to have Sean visit for the weekend.  As you can see, he's choosing to express himself by letting his hair grow out.  A little youthful rebellion is a good thing.  At least that what I tell his mother!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Historicon 2017 Game: Catacomb Layout

 The final planning and placement of the catacombs for my upcoming Historical games (DAK & Dragons and SOCOM and Sorcery) is pretty much done.  The "catacombs" will be mounted of 2x2 ft 1/4 inch MDF boards.  I had enough of the Lunesdargent Egyptian themed tiles to make 5 sections and will use some cavern tiles from Dwarven Forge for the 6th.  Kickstarters are dangerous things even when they do fund.

 The layout is designed so I can move the tiles a bit around the central throne room and will have 9 access points so I can very play.  Once I'm satisfied with the layout, the sections will be glued down with a little spot of Tacky glue.  It's a sturdy but not permanent hold.  Each section will weigh 15-20 pounds given the weight of the MDF and cast pieces so they'l  be difficult to move.

 I had planned to cut EPS foam for inserts to cover the open space but there just isn't enough time to get that done by HCON.

Here is a close up of the throne room.  The game rules will allow players to set charges to blow holes in the walls to gain new entry points or perhaps even widen the door frames to allow vehicles to get in.  Given what awaits them inside, a tank may prove most useful....

 Before finalizing the placement (final as in gluing down), I need to run a few playlists to see how long it takes a team to fights its way in.  Each of the six games is set for four hours and I'm hoping for the following rough timeframe:

15 minutes rules explanation / command assignment
1:00 hour - fight way into the catacombs
2:00 hours - fight in the catacombs
45 minutes buffer

Of course, it's really impossible to fully plan these things as players have minds of their own!  That's one of better aspects of being a GM - having to think on your feet.

 I still need to add some details pieces (treasure piles, remnants of earlier tomb raiders, traps, etc).  We'll see how much can get done by July 14th, which is only 24 days away!
Rather than make sparse sections, I went with a cavern entrance.  I may try to lighten the tiles to match the desert theme.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains Part VI

 The basic painting of the mountain sections is now completed.  The first coat of dark red brown (mix of Dark Burnt Umber and red) was followed up with a heavy dry brush Raw Sienna (a leather tannish color) and then a light dry brush of yellow oxide.

 The sand areas were painted with a latex house paint that I had mixed up to match the "Iraqi Sand" paint from Vallejo.

 I then painted the end caps straight burnt umber. The end caps will likely need a second coat in the next few days.
Overall, I'm really please with the progress to date.  The next step will be to coat the rocks with diluted matte medium to make then less shiny and add some "hardness to the surface".  After that step I'll add some desert style flocking and details.  I'll move the sections down to my workbench to do the detail work.

Getting close to done!
A shot before the Iraqi sand paint was applied.

Paints Used to Date

Base Red/Brown Color
- Liquitex Basics Burnt Umber (3 parts)
- Liquitex Basics Primary Red (1 part)

Heavy Drybrush
- Liquitex Basics Raw Sienna

Light Drybrush
- Liquitex Basics Yellow Oxide

- Latex house paint mixed to match Vallejo's "Iraqi Sand" color

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains Part V

 Last night I had intended to start dry brushing the mountains to lighten up the colors.  As I was working on one section I then noticed that there were lots of spot where the pink foam was showing through - little dots of pink on all the pieces.  These gaps in coverage were mostly in the cracks and I think the paint mix was two thick.

The dry brushing was set aside and another batch of red/brown was mixed up but with twice as much water.  This created more of a wash than a paint but it flowed much better into the cracks  and crevices created from the carving.  All six sections were given a coat of the wash and seemed to look a lot better.

In hindsight it would make more sense to do the wash first before the main coat but one lives and learns.

The sections will be given 24 hours to fully dry and then the next step will be some dry-brushing.

The last picture shows the some of the sections before the "wash" was applied - you can see lots of pink spots poking through which just didn't look right.  It's like the mountains had some form of pink measles and who wants to play games on an infected mountain?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains, Part IV

 With the day offI was able to get A LOT of work done on the mountain sections.  All of the carving was finished, ground texture was added and, lastly, a base coat of red brown was applied.

 The ground texture is my standard goto - Sandstone colored flexible tile grout whit a little white glue added in for strength.  It's really easy to work with and dries for a flexible but really tough shell.
 Almost all of the sections have strange openings to allow little beasties to emerge or they can be covered up with ground foam.

 Some openings are bigger than others - hint for the Historical game - you really want to enter the catacombs from here.....

Then again, maybe you really don't?

 My super secret paint mix - about 1/4 red and 3/4'w brown then dilute with water.  Like the fancy palette?  I sued to used a real painted palette but found paper plates a lot easier to use.

 Painting has commenced.  It's a bit of a pain to get the red brown in all the crevices - there's still some pink showing through I'll need to clean up.
 Ans their all done!
 Some close ups

 The 45 degree bend came out really well.

These will dry a good bit lighter and then I'll add some dry brushing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blue Angels Air Show May 2017

It's graduation week for the Naval Academy in Annapolis and that means it's time for the Blue Angels airshow.  Reason #1012 why it's hard to beat living on the Chesapeake Bay.  The weather wasn't really cooperating - it was cold, cloudy and drizzly which meant the show was curtailed a bit, but still it's an amazing event to see, hear and feel.

I even managed to upload a few videos.  All in all a good day to play hooky from work.

Back to work today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains Part 3 - Carving Rock Faces & Post #750!

 Tonights project was to carve the "rock faces" on the pink foam.  I managed to get 2 of the six section done in about an hour.  I used a new technique from model rail roader David Frary which I'll explain below.
 The first step was to take my hand held hot wire cutter and roughly shape the mountain sections - adding slopes and other details.

 The carving technique is really simple and involves using an old steak knife and cutting horizontal and vertical cuts all along the foam.  the lines should be at right angles and you can criss cross.  Here's a link to a video that's narrated by David Frary
 Once you made the initial set of cuts, go over the entire piece with sand paper and lightly sand to smooth out and remove looses pieces.  If you don't like the look just repeats the criss cross cutting and saving to it looks like you want.

Please don't tell my wife that I "borrowed" one of the steak knives from the kitchen.

Heres a shot of the other side. I added a cave for a little extra interest.  I need to go back and make the cuts looks a bit more random but I'm liking the look and it was a really easy to do.

This process does make a mess so you probably shouldn't do it outside of a work area.

By the way - I just noticed this is my 750th post on the blog!

Monday, May 22, 2017

I've Been Banned from TMP and I Feel Fine

I have managed to get myself banned from The Miniatures Page (TMP).  TMP used to be a great source of hobby information (and really still is) but the recent tone and dwindling user participation levels have made it less interesting of late.  It's always been a fractious place which was a guilty pleasure watching people fight furiously with words on the proper location for Historicon or the true shade of white for a lapel color on a 17th century dragoon.

What the cause for this development?  The owner / editor of the site recently put up a post asking for comments on the question "Are British gamers are arrogant?"

Think red cape / bull.

Anyway, he seems to be banning anyone who challenges the usefulness of such discussion - including advertisers!  I couldn't resist making a post pointing out that promulgating a post that creates divisiveness on a dying forum is the exact wrong thing to do and now I'm banned.

Hopefully, after a proper period of grieving, I'll be back on my feet - Oops grieving's over and I'm fine.

In some ways this is a shame and a lesson.  I know TMP can be a rather rude place filled with people practicing recreational outrage but it also was a wonderful source of obscure miniatures information.  Want to know how to paint a 13th century man at arms - it's somewhere in TMP.  Given the lower traffic trends and declining advertising mix, I think it will will continue to decline for a long time (kind of like Sears) and then one day **Poof** disappear.

TMP should also serve as a lesson in civility,  Internet miniature forums are wonderful places to meet new people and exchange ideas about our rather obscure hobby.  I've met some wonderful people across the globe and now count them as true friends.  How we choose to comport ourselves while on line is something we should always bear in mind.  I would be deeply disappointed in myself if I contributed to the creation of another TMP-Like environment because I choose rudeness over civility.

Goodbye TMP, hello Lead Adventurers forum.

A few comments below have asked for a link to the thread.  As stated in my comment below, I can't provide a direct link and should reflect the site owners wishes and not figure out a work around.  I can provide a link the the topic that has the thread which is: Wargaming in America.

Look for the label "Arrogant American Wargamers" - the tile is misleading as its really a slight to out British cousins.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dinner in London

While I was in London, I had dinner with Tamsin, Ray, Lee and Postie!  It was a lovely event and I even received an invitation from Postie to come over to his gaming warren.  Perhaps one of the greater honors achievable in wargaming-dom.

The diner and conversation was grand and it was good to catch up with everyone.  I had hoped to extend my stay to be able to go to Partizan but those plans were disapproved by my lovely, yet fierce, wife.

We met at a pub called the Black Dog in Vauxhall.  I think it's more properly designated as a "gastro-pub" but I don't care as the location is great and the food better.  I greatly appreciate everyone traveling through the rain to get to dinner.  I'll need to come to you guys next!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cheap Ancient Terrain Source

I had to run into a pet supply store to kit some cat food and wandered by the aquarium section and saw some interesting "Egyptian" ruins in a tank and got an idea.

After returning home, I fired up the PC and hopped on Amazon and presto-change-o found out there a wide variety of Egyptian (and Greek) ruins that can be had for very cheap.  Aquarium decor is a very useful source for gamers.

I ordered some and the first 3 items arrived yesterday (thank you, Amazon Prime).  I took a picture of them next to a hist arts column I made (which took a total of 6 castings).  The combined price of the three items is less than the Hirst Arts Mold!

They will need some re-painting but that shouldn't be too hard.