Distractions and Repainting X-Wing ships

Summer is nearly over in the States, and again, my production has been sparse. I have a good excuse, the same one many of you in blog land have. Real Life.

It is a shame the Real Life can’t conspire to paint our models, or finish that terrain piece. Or pieces. I have many in various stages of progress that Real Life could finish any time it wanted to, I won’t complain. This Real Life event has kept me away from my painting desk, my terrain table (spoiled, I know!) or gaming. I’ve been preoccupied and busy, and haven’t done a whole lot.

Not that most of you care about the why, but here it is anyways. My Princess is heading off to college/university this week, and so I have not had the mojo to sequester myself in the basement when we could be making memories. I did this four years ago with my son, and it was tough. He was my soccer fan, shooting, 40K, Bolt Action companion. And now the other half of my kiddos is heading out.

Mornings have been full of Star Wars Rebels and The Bad Batch, and lots of discussions on characters, ships, plots and future stories in our favorite galaxy far, far away. She gets Star Wars, and knows as much if not more, than I do. She has a phenomenal memory for characters and traits and plots. So, we sit and watch and I complain because I am not to the end yet, and she smirks because she is all caught up and knows what comes next. We laugh, and sometimes cry, miss characters lost, futures that won’t be, and all of the story that is Star Wars. Time well spent.

Evenings have been spent watching Supernatural and sharing Daredevil (the tv series) with her and my wife. Or rewatching favorite movies. After watching Revenge of the Sith my wife looked over at us and said “you know you talked through the entire movie, right?

Of course, we did. We talked about Anakin and Padme, and Obi-wan and Satine. And Corky. And Mandalorians, Mandalore, The Scouring and how it fits into the timeline. We discussed who was where and when. She kept trying to figure out Clone commanders and lamenting the death of all of her favorite clones. Fives will never be forgotten. We enjoyed Yoda in all his saber-flashing glory. Of Anakin’s fall. Hope lost. Sadness. Misery. And the twins. All of it.

And every day that passed brought me closer to the day I’ll help her set up her dorm room, and make the 1600-mile trek home. Without my Star Wars and DnD buddy. Watching Andor will not be the same. Nor will watching whatever is next. She is a next-level fan and very few around me can match her knowledge and enthusiasm.

No one really warns you about this when you have kids. Eighteen years is a long time in the future, right?

Hardly enough time at all.

College. Post grad work. Marriage. A job. She has so many things to look forward to, and her future is incredibly bright.

Mine is just a little dimmer without her light on the couch next to me whenever we want to put on a bit of Star Wars. And it is gonna be hard to deal with.

She is a busy kid, and there were times when I did have a few minutes to myself. I did get a couple things done. Mostly a couple repaints of ships for the game X-Wing. I found a YouTube channel by a chap named Jay Adan. He repaints X-Wing ships, and does a fine job of it. Two of his videos inspired me to make my own attempts. I ordered a couple used (i.e., cheap) ships off eBay or used model sites and got tucked in. Here are the results.

First is a partial repaint of a TIE Phantom. In the game of X-Wing, the Phantom has the ability to cloak and disappear. Nasty little surprise when it happens. This paint is as it begins to cloak. Painting black over the area to cloak, then some electrical/cloaking effects. Finally, I added a bit of the starfield that shows through the cloaked machine. It was pretty quick to do, and ended up way better than I expected.

Second was a set of standard TiEs painted in a black scheme. Mr. Adan used a mask to make the white Imperial symbol. And he used an airbrush. I used neither. I rattle-canned the model black with Testor’s black spray, then applied white decals I found on eBay, before some dry brushing, highlights, and detail work. While Mr. Adan did a single TIE, I went a step further and painted a wingman. In fact, I picked up several more TiEs and a Devastator to paint in the same scheme. Then I can field a unique squadron in a custom paintjob. I think the effect will be quite stunning when the group is finished.

The last ship is a Y-Wing that came originally in the Scum faction paint scheme from the Most Wanted box. The ship was mostly a light cream of tan with some parts in a coppery color. I added a blue over parts, repainted the astromech, and used a dark wash to dirty it up. Y-Wings are all over the place on the secondary marked and I wanted one that looked cobbled together from the wreckage of two or three ships.  It looks the part.

Lastly, I dug out a wild west bank I started ages ago. I crafted a base from a floor tile, and started adding a wood floor and the boardwalk around the building. I didn’t get far on this project, and look to finally get this one completed sometime next month.

That’s it for this update. Not a lot of hobby time, but as much daddy-daughter time as I could fit it.

But not nearly enough…

Sad BG out

How to start? Or where to begin? It sure is a big hobby!

As a gamer, I often find my self as an Army of One. Out of all my co-workers (50+ in my office) I am the only miniatures gamer, and one of very few that play any board games at all. I deal with the usual jokes and silliness. My Hasbro Black Series figs are referred to as “dolls” by one guy. I play with kid’s toys. My fellow gamers are “those” guys. You know the ones; the unwashed, uncouth, basement dwellers. All the same stuff I am sure many of you have dealt with at some time.

My two brothers are the same. Neither really has a hobby, and they think it is funny to make jokes about my “shiny” as they refer to my unpainted models. Since they are not gamer, they were blown away by my total models owned. Especially by the number in the Lead Mountain, or The Boxes of Despair, as I refer to them.

It’s mostly in good humor, but still, it gets old. I’ve had decent conversations explaining war games in general, and the games I play in particular, with my direct unit. Because we spend 8-10 hours a day together in very close quarters and we’ve pretty much covered everything. None have really showed any interest. One guy asked about board games a few years back. Games with a military/war theme that would be suitable for a ten-yar-old. I gave him a couple options, and every time I followed up, he replied with “he hadn’t gotten any yet”.

My “gaming buddies” are all of you. The guys and gals that read my blog, post on the forums I frequent, or right blogs of your own. You are the ones who get it. Collecting your own stuff. The ones who buy more models than they paint, and collect rules like somewhere out there is the perfect set. My peeps.

We have a collective vocabulary and a shared knowledge base. Unless you play a single game, or ruleset, you all know that there are literally thousands of rule sets floating around. Starting with eponymous Little Wars, to whatever ruleset is being published the week I publish this, to whatever week you read this into infinity, rules abound. Those in the hobby know and understand it. Those outside the hobby have no idea.

It comes as a surprise, I am sure, when they ask a simple question like “what rules should I use if I wanted to start wargaming?” Three weeks later, when you finish discussing the various eras of warfare and how to divide them, they have lost interest completely…

Honestly, where do we start?

I’ve briefly alluded to some of the eras in warfare that have rules or army lists in this post (the eras I game post link), so I won’t delve into it again. It does create issues though, when someone asks about wargaming. I had this problem today when the guy who asked about board games asked for a set of rules he called “Wargaming 101” and specifically mentioned battles from Thermopylae to Gettysburg.

Well. Hmmm. How do I break it down that no one set of rules is capable of doing that? 2300+ years of history, innovation, tactical changes, and weapons development means that a pike-armed phalanx and a skirmish line armed with repeating rifles are very, very different. While I supposed you could have some very basic rules to cover that wide of a span, it is the differences in units that makes war gaming so great. Otherwise, play checkers.

I answered my friend. He is recently retired, and has way more free time than I do. I suppose he is looking for a hobby, and the world needs more wargamers, not less, so I did my best to help. I gave some options and opinions of the same. My real knowledge is limited to the ten or so rulesets I play most. I am familiar with about probably ten times that number. And have heard of double that. Reading his question, my brain started sorting through what I know.

Plenty of gamers will yell out “you told him about DBA, right?” Which technically, I did. By telling him that Triumph! is the playable successor. We all have our opinions; I don’t care for DBA. Sue me.

I mentioned the Osprey Wargaming Series to start, specifically Lion Rampant.  I like the small rulebooks and narrow focus of this series. Handing someone a book the size of the 9th Ed Warhammer 40K book is almost a surefire way to get them to NOT play wargames. There is literally a 300-page difference between 9th Ed 40K and any rules in the Osprey series.  And the former still needs a pair of army books to really play the game.

Granted, one is sci-fi and the other is medieval, but you understand the dilemma. How to we get a totally newbie over the initial hump and on the slide into wargaming madness?

My recommendations to him were Field of Glory, several from the Osprey Series, Triumph!, the Fire & Fury rules (both Brigade and Regimental) and Black Powder. The real problem is the timespan. None of these will work for that entire timeline. I think a minimum would be four rules. One for Ancients, one for Dark Ages, one for Medieval, and a last for the American Civil War. Unless he is interested in Napoleonics battles, too, then, well, he needs more rules.

What about all of you? If someone asked you the same question, what would your answer be, and what are your favorite rules for these various eras?

For me, these are my current rules:

Ancients: Triumph! I like the vast array of army lists, the simplicity of play, and the guys that play it. I’ve had great fun recreating battles from the Battle of Marathon, to the battle of Hastings.

Dark Ages: Saga I like the warband feel, and the unique traits off the battle boards. Plus, cool dice. Everyone loves cool dice.

Medieval: Lion/Dragon Rampant Easy to read and learn, fast-paced, and really open to include any units you want, I can use my Warhammer Fantasy models with these rules without tossing a monstrosity of a rulebook at my opponent.

Black powder era: Muskets & Tomahawks for skirmish battles. Fire & Fury for ACW. M&T is so cinematic and cool. This evocative set uses cool scenarios and side plots to create really interesting games. The F&F rules allow regimental to brigade level gaming in the ACW.

Anyone of you who has read before know I also game fantasy, WW2 and various sci-fi. He didn’t ask about those, but I’ll list my current favs just for completion’s sake:

Fantasy: Warhammer Fantasy Battles AND Dragon Rampant. I’m still torn between the two. It is the unique units in WFB that makes the game both cool, and overburdened with special rules. DR really streamlines the unit and weapon choices. I need to bust out a couple armies and give DR a go.

WW2: Bolt Action (plus our house rules) and Chain of Command. I’ve written before about how I WANT to love CoC, but there are certain aspects I just don’t care for. I think I will end up with a hybrid of the two, picking parts I like from both.

Sci-Fi: 40K will always be my first gaming love, but I haven’t played it in years. Kill Team has piqued my interest, though, and I might get into it. Mostly I play Star Wars using X-Wing and Armada. Ground combat in the galaxy far, far away isn’t my thing, but space combat is so much fun.

My friend hasn’t taken me up my lunch offer yet. I think he knows lunch would turn into dinner, and the sun would set before I even got to the Black Powder era in rules discussions. He wants to dip his toe, not leap into the fire. I can’t say I blame him for caution, since this path can lead to madness.

A quick peek at what I’ve been up to on the terrain front. A couple sign posts/ message boards, and a ruined tower for fantasy gaming. The signs are from basswood and balsa, with mdf bases I scavenged from the last mdf kit I built. I forgot to take any in progress pics of the tower. It was built stone by stone from XPS bricks/blocks I cut on my Proxxon hotwire cutter. I used Alene’s Tacky glue instead of hot glue (hate the strings) so this took a while. I could only get two rows on at a time before they would slip out of position if I tried to add more layers.

I finally finished this kit from 4Ground. Harper’s Dry goods. I have another copy of this kit already, so i modified the front face, cutting a different profile on the top and hiding the cuts with profile boards. My western town is coming along nicely. Mostly I need to finalize signs and get them printed and installed.

Not sure why the door looks broken. I wonder if I messed it up finishing the tarp?

That’s it for this update. There are few models painted, but no pics yet. With end-of-the year stuff of my daughter, my free time has been limited. June is gonna be worse. If I can finish even one small project, it will be a miracle.

See ya next time!

BG

FlintCon 2019

On Saturday February 9th I attend a local game convention called FlintCon. I saw it mentioned a year or more ago on TMP, but kinda forgot about it until Fall In! while I was playing Triumph and met Larry and Brian, who are also from Michigan. They invited me to come play Triumph at FlintCon, and told me about the Facebook page for the con. I found the page and joined the group, and that kept it on my radar as the event organizer kept posts about games and GMs flowing. Since the con was about 90 minutes from my house and on a Saturday, it was perfect. Even better, my daughter had the day free and was able to join me! As I mentioned in my Fall In! 2018 post, she was supposed to attend that convention with me but due to school was unable. So we were both pretty excited. Her because she would get my undivided attention for a day, and me to share my love of gaming.

We got up pretty early on the appointed day, got ready and had a quick breakfast. We were both up too late the night before, so we were slow and quiet. Stepping outside, we were awoken to a very cold morning. It was zero or less, and a cold car got us shivering before it warmed up. We had a nice, uneventful drive and chatted about anything and everything. I shared some funny moments from previous cons, and we looked over the events for the day to pick our games. The con had three sessions, but I had to work that night, and she had homework to do, so we were only staying for two sessions.

Here was the day’s list of games:

1st Session (9AM-1PM):
Battle of Hastings in 28mm Triumph! (Sponsored by The Washington Grand Company) –Brian Peruski
Napoleonic Battle in the Spanish Peninsula 28mm Black Powder (sponsored by Rider Hobby Shop) – Jon Carroll
Aliens Vs. Predator Vs. Marines – Adam Koziel
Close Action Napoleonic Naval Action – Garry Kaluzny
Russo Turkish War battle of Plevna 15mm – Scott Hansen
What a Tanker (sponsored by Michigan Toy Soldier) – Matt Koltonow
Castle Siege – John Thull
Walking Dead All Out War – Michael Ovesnik
Deadzone Sci-fi Skirmish (sponsored by Mantic Games) – Richard Hall
Napoleonic Skirmish Game – 54mm Curtis Cousineau
WWII 15mm Battlegroup – Steve Thurston
ACW Battle of Perryville Brigade Fire and Fury – Lowell Hamilton
Flint and Feather (sponsored by Crucible Crush Games) – Lee Van Schaik
Force on Force Iraq 2003 – Chris Maes
Dust (Demo Games) – Chris Kempf
Star Wars Legion – John Solomon / Andrew Pryor

2nd Session (2PM-6PM):

Darkest Africa with Gold Digger Jones – Glen Cooley
Battle of Hastings in 28mm Triumph! (Sponsored by The Washington Grand Company) –Brian Peruski
Napoleonic Battle in the Spanish Peninsula 28mm Black Powder (sponsored by Rider Hobby Shop) – Jon Carroll
Championship Formula Racing – Jack Beckman
Dawn Attack at Sharpsburg 1/72 (ACW 101 Tod’s New Rules!) – Tod Kershner
Isandlwana Zulu War using The Man Who Would Be King rules – Michael David Wedding
Mekong Delta Cambodia – Michael Harris
Flint and Feather – Michael Ovsenik
WWII Russian Front – John Thull
Vanguard Fantasy Skirmish (sponsored by Mantic Games) – Richard Hall
Dust (Demo Games) – Chris Kempf
Gunfighter’s Ball – 54mm Larry Campbell
WWI Trench Warfare – Ray Brammer
Age of Sigmar Monster Hunt (sponsored by Hobby Knockout Podcast) – Daniel Odoms / Matt Koltonow
The Battle of Kadesh 1274 BC – Chris Maes

3rd Session (7PM-11PM):

Blue Max – Rod Cain
Gutshot – Gary Kaluzny

Looking over the games, the ACW games stood out. Just that week my daughter had been complaining that they had started the American Civil War period in her Advanced Placement U.S. History class, but still hadn’t got to the actual war. She wanted to play an ACW game and since one was with the Fire & Fury rules we marked that one. There was also a Battle of Hastings game in 28mm for Triumph, and since I have the Triumph rules and minis to play it at home we decided to give that a try as well. There were lots of good options, and plenty of eras to try.

At this con you just sign up for the games you want at the start of the session. Lucky for us, the ACW game had two slots left when we got there. We signed in, and took a quick walk to look at all the stuff for sale. And boy, was there a lot. From boxes of OOP Games Workshop models, to painted 28mm pirate ships, to loads of books, I could have spent a fortune. Lucky or unlucky for me, it was time to game so I didn’t buy anything at first.

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The game we played was the Battle of Perryville using the Brigade Fire & Fury rules. Lowell was the game master and brought his 2mm minis and a felt game map. The terrain was drawn on in colors with brown roads and ravines, blue rivers and streams, and green contour marks. Hills were created with another layer of felt. 2mm minis are TINY. Little strips of bumps. All laid out the map looked incredible. There were four entire corps on the map and it looked like a 3D map from an Osprey or other ACW book. There were long tweezers for removing casualties and moving the tiny colored markers used to mark First Fire, Disordered, Silenced Gun, Breakthrough, Spent and Worn. The brigades were on a heavy cloth that acted as move trays.

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We ended up commanding on the Union side. From the pregame banter I sort of figured this whole group knew each other and played together regularly. We had two guys on our side that knew the rules and could help us along. Unfortunately I don’t remember the gentleman’s name that stayed the whole game (the other guy apparently got miffed at something or somebody and left). He was very nice, and even deferred to my daughter to do all of the dice rolling for the game. Thank you sir, that was very kind. We picked up the game fairly quickly. He walked us through determining maneuver and musketry and charges every time. The repeated “+1 for attached leader, -1 for green troops” or whatever each brigade had helped us figure it out. Unfortunately in this scenario, many of the Union troops sat out the battle or were green troops. The Confederates didn’t get all of their troops in either, but had far fewer green troops.

With so many troops to move and shoot and charge, I think we got in 3 turns over 3 hours. The Union left was stuck in pretty good, and with a little luck could have finished off the Rebels in front of them. Unfortunately the troops in the center were broken and fleeing. We had a cavalry unit chasing off the Rebel horse soldiers, and a whole corps watching the show…

Even though we ended losing by casualties, the game was a lot of fun. Seeing whole brigades maneuver and clash, pushing forward and falling back was great. I enjoyed the rules enough that I ran to an ATM after for cash to buy both Regimental and Brigade Fire & Fury from Lowell and to arrange to purchase the two scenario books at the next con.

After a quick lunch we jumped into the Battle of Hastings. The board was gorgeous, a long open field rolling up a rather steep hill boxed in by wooded areas at each end. The troops were all laid out and looked splendid. The Normans were split into three commands and the Saxon shield wall stretched along the crest of the hill. As we were the first, and for a bit the only, to sign up we had our choice of commands. We looked over the board from both sides, and while staring down the hill from the Saxon vantage point, my daughter said “Let’s take the Normans, that side will be harder.” Proud dad moment. Going for the challenge! What a girl!

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She took the Norman center with William, I took the right flank with Eustice of Bologna, or Useless of Baloney as he became known. Another fellow showed up to play the left flank under Bishop Odo’s command.  A son of either Larry or Brian took the Saxon right flank, and Larry commanded the other two Saxon commands. Brian acted as game master.

With that shield wall, and all those Dane axes up there, we wondered how we could pull this off. Charging in was sure to get our knights slaughtered. Brian gave us a hint to use our skirmishers and javelin cavalry to try and pull units out of the line to defeat piecemeal. My daughter and I did exactly that. Pushing our light troops up the hill, we made first contact. The left flank moved the skirmishers to outflank the entire Saxon line through the trees.

For several turns we would draw a couple units out of the line, only to have them retreat back into the shield wall. Then, it happened. Larry rolled ones on his command dice and left several units hanging out alone. Time to act! We charged the lone units with our knights and smashed a couple of the units. We did this a couple more times, but with two lines of troops, Larry was able to fill the gaps. We lost a coule stands, but killed off more Saxons. Then, Eustice was Useless and died… Without a commander, I was unable to get my troops into battle, and could barely keep my army on the board. But, my daughter kept pounding on the center, even killing Harald!

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The Saxon right flank got into trouble by losing their commander also. They were slowly melting away to attrition and fighting a diminished Norman force. While that side was heavily stuck in, I was able to stall the left flank as they tried wrapping around to flank the center. And then the Saxon right failed, and melted away. We were up 3 commands to 2 and needed to break the center. Which, after one more round of close pressed combat, actually happened! My daughter broke the center and we pulled off a close victory. It was a brutal fight and four of six commanders died in the fighting. All in all it was a great game. Every time I play Triumph I like it more. It is simple to learn, but so complex to play. Thanks to Brian and Larry and the other players.

We had a fantastic day. We played two great games, had three hours to chat, and I picked up a few items of new shiny stuff. My haul for the day was a like new copy of How to Paint Citadel Miniatures, both Regimental and Brigade Fire and Fury rules, a 28mm StuG III G and Opel Blitz truck models for my son’s Bolt Action army. There was tons more I wanted to buy, but after my lack of control at Fall In! I tried to be good.

Thanks to Rod Cain and everyone who organized the event. Special thanks to Lowell and Brian for making my daughter’s first con a rousing success. If you have a small, local on near you, go check it out. You might be surprised at how great it is!