Monday, March 28, 2011

Hotlead and Empty Wallet

I'm back from Stratford and the 2011 Hotlead Convention, as mentioned my first. I had a great time, staying in nearby Kitchener at a brother's place, then making the short (30 min.) drive to the convention each morning.

I didn't take any photos, but other people did, and here's the first of the galleries available.

I played a game in all five timeslots, starting with "White Terror" Friday night, a 15mm Russian Civil War game using the TooFatLardies' Triumph of the Will rules. This is actually a picture of us early in the game, I'm the only one without a Justin Bieber haircut sitting at the table, looking pensive. Thanks to my heroic White Russian MVI tank, which pretty much single-handedly took out the Reds' armoured train, we won the game in memory of the Czar. My opponents and team-mates were all teens from the Warhammer/Warhammer 40K crowd, but they were nice kids and had a lot of fun. So much fun the Red players preferred shooting their buddies' infantry with the train's cannons, rather than my tank!

I spent Saturday morning losing the English Civil War for the Parliamentarians, using 28mm figures and Field of Glory-Renaissance rules. They were really nicely done up figures on both sides, with appropriate poodle-loving or poodle-hating banners.

Saturday afternoon I got into the Battle of Pondicherry in 28mm, using Warfare in the Age of Reason rules. No pics are up yet, but they will be (lots were taken). The figures were really popular at the 2010 convention, and I'd been aiming to play in this game since I saw those pics, as the SYW in India is a period I'm getting into. When the pictures are up, you'll be amazed at my generalship (well, colonel-ship, maybe major-ship) as I held the left flank for the British, saving India in the interest of tea profits.

I had the most forward BEIC position to start the game, marines and sailors and one gun in a rebout, and the French and allies decided to try to flank us rather than overrun us, and I was able to get the rest of my command up there in a perfect L shape, eventually joined by the rest of the BEIC (except for our unfortunate Indian allies, who alternated between stalling and running away). When the French allies finally got through the jungle onto my flank, my two battalions there sent them reeling back. The redoubt with the gun and marines survived 3 charges by Mysorean mobs, either the cannon or musket fire driving them back before they could get into melee range.

In the evening I saved Rome from Hannibal and his elephants, with help from the two Daves. Actually the two Daves did most of the work on the flanks, while sending negative reports about me back to the senate! I had the good troops in the middle, and once we had one unit of elephants rout, my legions were already closing the trap as time ran out on the game (still a late Roman victory). The rules were Might of Arms, which I also want to get into, so this was a chance to learn them in the heat of battle.

Sunday morning I was into another TooFatLardies ruleset, Sharp Practice. The scenario was Ottomans vs. Hungarians, and I was the right flank of the Ottoman attack. These pics are from earlier games (it was run 3-4 times over the weekend), but you can get the gist of it. The figures were awesome, the terrain nice, and the three other players great to play with, as was Steve the umpire. A good fun game, even though the Ottomans got spanked! I had a chance for a last minute heroic charge, but my charge was negated by the Hungarians having the one counter-charge card!

In terms of shopping, I bought some nice Artizan pulp figures, including the all important Casablanca, Kelly's Heroes, and Dirty Dozen packs, as well as two Blue Moon pulp cars. At the Bring-and-Buy I got four Ospreys for $20 - two on modern Soviet forces, one on US mech. inf., and one on Alexander's Army. Later I got two other Ospreys for $10 apiece from one of the dealers, Queen Victoria's Southern African enemies (useful for Imaro) AND Fortresses of India. I'd been looking for the later for the last several months, it's OOP and all the online dealers were just teasing me about its availability. Suckers, I don't need you now!

I also bought some Reaper Chronoscope figures, for 28mm VSF, and a Mk. IV (female) tank for WWI and pulp gaming, and some 1/72 terrain bits for Vietnam skirmish. I could have spent more if I wasn't trying to play in every game session, there wasn't much time to shop. Maybe next time I'll pace myself better.

The 6mm club I play in in Toronto had a game Saturday morning, I was there before the games began and didn't make it back, but it sounds like it was well-received. Most of the club guys I play with regularly were there, and I met some new people as well, there weren't any negative experiences (other than the one vendor who kept wandering by the RCW game to offer suggestions on tactics!).

So thanks to all the game masters and convention organizers, as a newbie I had a great time and looking to come back next year, and maybe hit one or both of the fall conventions (MIGS and Council Fires). Cangames in Ottawa is close too, but May is a terrible time for real-life workload, and I usually prefer sleep on the long weekend.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Off To My First Convention

Well I hope to escape work this afternoon and head to Kitchener/Waterloo (site of my bed for the weekend) and then Stratford for Hotlead 2011. I want to get in a game tonight, then plan on being there for the whole weekend, through to noon Sunday.

I hope to get my first taste of some rule systems that I have, but have yet to play - "Might of Arms" and "Triumph of the Will" by TooFatLardies; the latter will be my first foray into any TFL rule system.

I also want to get in a game of Impetus, and there's a Pondicherry game Saturday and given my SYW India project, it's a must see for me!

I'm also looking forward to the Bring-and-Buy and venders, it'll be a chance to fondle miniatures in person, rather than always ordering online.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mostly VSF

I'm out of town for a few days, so here are some shots of things that have progressed over the last couple of days.

The Ottoman and Imperial Chinese land ironclads have progressed to the touch up phase, with some muddy tracks added to liven up the bases a bit. The bases need the most work at the moment.

The French fort-house has also gotten to the touch-up phase, although the main door needs some work. I was trying for a massive timber beam door look, and instead I got a Caramilk bar gone wrong. The windows also need their frames.

Two of the French Victorian SPG's are done except for windows and doors on the cab, and touching up.
The 2mm Hoth ion cannon piece is also at the clean-up stage. I went with some metallic pipes and wiring, not exactly well-camouflaged, but it breaks up the white, and I can see the piece being needed for double duty at some point.
And finally, for fun, I started painting up some of the 3mm Microform Models cars I got back in the summer. These are for 3mm Vietnam, but will be for other eras as well. On the left is a hatchback, in my mind it's a Pinto, the middle two are VW Beetles, painted up as my parent's first two cars. The overexposed one on the left is a baby blue colour. And on the far right is what I'm calling a '57 Chevy Convertible, in a turquise base colour. I have another couple on hand, one for a AK-47 dictator's personal ride.

6mm Hammer's Slammers Arrive

Old Crow Models finally came out with their initial offerings in 6mm for David Drake's Hammer's Slammers, and my order arrived yesterday. There was yelling and dancing all around.

I won't post pics, the Old Crow link above does as good a job as I can do. The blowers are bigger than I expected, they'd squash a M1. The combat cars are neat, the body is resin but the crew area is a metal bit that drops in, with 3 gunners and suitcases and ammo crates on the roof.

Before Xmas I picked up the infantry and skimmers from GZG, as well as some opposition, so whenever the painting table is cleared off (2012?), I have another project nicely self-contained. For rules I have Dirtside II and FUBAR (both free) to decide between. Dirtside II was always my intention, but FUBAR looks like it'll be a bit easier to get into and play. I may end up using both, DS2 for "heavy" gaming, FUBAR as a casual game.

Hopefully tonight I'll get some more VSF pictures up, the killer gingerbread house is just about done.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Missed one!

In my pic parade last week I forgot this in-progress picture of Irregular's 2mm castle:This is painted up as a generic medieval/fantasy castle, it's actually a light gray, not white. Some of the interior buildings will be wood, and I need to fix the lip on the road where the piece's base meets the wood bases. I also need to work on dry-brushing this, there are some finer features in piece that don't show up well.

I've got a couple more on order, one to do as a red fort from India, the other more malicious-looking.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sometimes Insomnia is a Good Thing

Sometimes not being able to sleep can work in your favour. Before going to bed last night, I decided to put in an hour painting some Land Ironclad bases I'd mounted previously in my usual green base colour. The ironclads were from "Objects May Appear" available via Shapeways, mounted on Brigade Models UK's 40x40mm bases. After getting all the bases coated once, I decided to putter around with painting the actual ironclads, since they aren't overly detailed, just nice simple shapes.

Once I got started I couldn't stop, at least in terms of doing some colour trials, so I now have my first land ironclad units almost ready to go:These are indigenous ironclads from the Ottoman Empire. Pretty crude compared to other nations', but effective (and cool looking). I painted the armour in a "metallic black sequin" colour, which may just really be a glossy black. Hopefully it holds up after varnishing.

The second (anti-aeronef) turret is an add-on from the pack of accessories availabe from Pat and Walt's Starship Emporium on Shapeways.

Another view. There are 2 more ironclads in the unit, awaiting paint.

As it turns out, the Imperial Chinese Army has bought "export models" of the same ironclad from the Ottomans. The export version has cheaper armour, and as the Chinese could only afford three, they'll all be slight unique in appearance, basically in the colour of the little roofs. One is completely done, other than finishing the base's green - which is where the whole process started to begin with!

The French Republic also has some ironclads from OMA, in particular this self-propelled artillery piece. I have four in total, two will be done with this wood chassis paint job, the others will be spiced up in nationalistic colours.

To defend their borders and coasts, the French also have their Victorian version of the Maginot Line and Atlantic Wall - killer gingerbread houses!This is still in a test phase, as I try out colours on it, but I like the gunmetal grey for the turrets and stacks, an antique copper for the smokestacks, and a metallic white for the "marble" balacony.

Since these windows are really about 3 stories high, I'll paint in some panes to break up their size a bit. Plus having an armoured building with massive windows is silly enough as it is! I still need to figure out the stats for this beast in land Ironclads.

Still in VSF, last fall I used some spare insulating clay to build up a couple of terrain pieces, including this volanco. I'm finally starting to paint it, got the basic rock done and the first coat of lava. The cork patches will be painted as the trunks of trees, then green scrubbing pad glued on top.
Back to my town and village for eastern India, I've puttered around a bit more on them - almost done!

My North American 18-19th century fort has also gotten a bit further ahead, I'm just on the touch-up stage now.

Ditto for my North American windmill piece:
And then switching to 3mm, I've painted up one of SPC's stone churches as a brick church for my 3mm ACW Terrible Sharp Sword project. Still a work-in-progress:
And I've been messing around with SPC's original 3mm ruins set, these are four identical pieces, two being done up in white, two in grey concrete, mainly intended for Vietnam. If you look closely, you'll see the ruin with the story that was painted/wallpapered blue has a picture frame hanging crookedly on the wall - now I need to figure out what picture I can paint inside that frame!
As always, all the pics can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them.