Project YT-1300: Converting an Icon

Some time ago I happened across a series of photos of the deconstruction and reconstruction of a YT-1300 light freighter model from Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing miniatures game. It was a set of great photos showing step by step how a crafty modeler cut apart a great model, and then rebuilt it into an even better model. I saved all the pictures with the intention to build my own version. You call it copying, I call it an homage to a great conversion.

Here is the finished model that inspired me. Unfortunately, it was so long ago I have lost the link to this crafty fella’s blog. I believe his name is Robert Sakaluk. I blame FFG and the closure of their forum and all the great repaints and modeling that were stashed in the X-Wing and Armada areas of that defunct forum.

Inspiration YT model pics

I had purchased the original Millennium Falcon probably just as it was released. I didn’t realize (or remember, at least) that I happened upon X-Wing just as Wave 2 was being released. It included two of my favorite ships in the entire Star Wars Universe, the Millennium Falcon and Slave-1, Bob Fett’s modified Firespray-31. Fully painted, and very detailed, I had to have them. That they belonged to a great miniatures game was a nice bonus.

FFG Falcon

As I fell into the deep hole that is X-Wing, I found the FFG forums and was inspired by the conversions and repaints everyone was doing. One particular fellow had down a conversion that moved the off-center cockpit of the Falcon to the centerline. And it was repainted a light gray and blue. That guy went by the screen name ZombieHedgehog. I was able to commission him to make a copy of the model he had posted. It turned out fantastic:

Blue center cockpit Falcon

He explained everything that went into the project, but I wasn’t comfortable trying it on my own. I’m not sure why, I have been building plastic model kits since I was probably eight-years-old. Something about hacking into a painted model gave me pause.

Time went on and I picked up two more Falcon models. FFG released a version modified and painted to represent the version seen in the sequel movies. Then another model was released of the version from the movie when the Falcon still belonged to Lando.

Somewhere in there came the inspiration to build my own armoured version of the classic YT-1300. Duly inspired, I picked up yet another YT model from FFG. And started the project. Honestly, I don’t know exactly how long this project took. Months. Over a year in total. I would do a little work, get frustrated, and set it aside for weeks. Having never done something like this before, the learning curve was steep.

I had purchased a scribing tool before I started. And a pack of engine nozzles intended for super detailing Gundam models (I believe.) I wanted the old-school feel of round engine nozzles for this build and made an eBay purchase. And then another when I realized I needed more of a particular nozzle size than the pack had. Then I picked up some Evergreen plastic in sheets and rods and strips. With all the supplies in hand, I had to take the first step.

Cutting into a perfectly good model.

Using a razor saw and cutting slow and careful, I tore that model apart. Stripping the entire cockpit out, and then removing the engines and much of the rear superstructure, I had a carcass that was ready for anything. I printed out all the pictures I had found and spent a lot of time staring at them. Progress was slow. I would make a few small parts, or cut and shape a piece of plastic, then wait days or weeks. Slowly it came back together. There were some complex curves that gave me fits. I made and discarded a number of templates and parts trying to rebuild that model. And used greenstuff to hide my mistakes or gaps I gave up trying to fit properly.

As pieces came together, I began to detail the model. Scribing panel lines went a long way towards making it look more like a space ship and less like a chunk of plastic. Tiny pieces of plastic were cut and glued into place to give visual interest. The engine bay was detailed. I constructed some engines and even used putty to hold a couple engine layouts in place to poll some friends on Facebook about which looked best. More cutting. Lots of filing. Sanding. Filling. Gluing. Some days it seemed like it was never going to be complete.

side by side engine layouts

And then, it was. I held a finished model in my hands and checked it over and over for anything else I could do. I think this is one project I could pick at nearly forever. Finally, I called it done and set it aside.

No idea what else I was doing at the time, but it sat unpainted for a long time. Eventually I primed it, and began to paint it. I liked the red and gray of the inspiration model, and gave it a similar paint job. Being a space freighter meant I got to dirty it up, using several washes and inks to put rust, oil, and fuel drips and streaks all over it. Unlike the original guy who was good enough to be able to construct it so he could paint it in subassemblies, I had a complete model to paint. Which meant the engine bay isn’t nearly as well painted as I would like.

primed/washed model

Overall, I am extremely happy with how the model came out. I have a distinct YT model, in a flashy paint scheme, that I built myself.

finished model

Here are couple other repaints I have down. Just for fun, or before a particular model was released.

X-Wing is still a great game. I have enough ships to play monster games, or throw a whole tourney on my own. And several are custom paints. Which makes it a little bit cooler. With the confidence gained, I built an armoured Nebulon-B for Star Wars Armada, and began painting all the tiny fighters for the squadrons in Armada.

A chance image of a converted model led to months of construction and painting. Funny how internet wanderings can do that.

Thanks for stopping by,


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!

2018: The Results

The year in review

As December flew by I looked back and wondered where all the time went.  It seems like a week or three ago it was January and I was looking forward to a year of painting, modeling and gaming. I had an ok 2017, and knew to have a great 2018 I needed planning and motivation. Mostly because I am a lazy git.

So I set a goal for painting in 2018.  A few years back I entered a painting challenge over at In it you had to paint one unit or vehicle for a war game each month. There was a guy in charge, and there was a set of rules to abide by. Everyone posted plans at the beginning of the year. One change in armies per year. One mulligan. Miss 2 months and you were out. The prize?  The honor of completion. And a cool graphic for your signature line. The honor was mine. I made it through the most of the year, and painted about 10-12 units. Most were for my Warhammer Fantasy Battles Empire army. A Middenheim army to be exact.  But looking back I see that some were from my sons High Elf army.  How the memory fails me…

Taking inspiration from that challenge, I set a goal to paint 2 units per month from any army, in any scale. That way I could switch around what I was painting to keep my interest and drive up. No way was I getting burned out again. I started out the year painting 28mm World War Two minis for Bolt Action and Chain of Command. German and U.S infantry and a few armored vehicles. I moved into 15mm Ancients after a few months. Then I ended the year painting 28mm again, Dark Age Vikings and Anglo-Saxons for SAGA. Here is a complete list:

Jan: 10 G.I.s and 8 Grenadiers

Feb: 10 G.I.s and 8 Grenadiers

Mar: 6 Waywatchers and 5 Pulp bad guys

Apr: 8 Grenadiers and 5 Pulp Good Guys, a Wood Elf Lord and a High Elf Mage

May: 8 Grenadiers and 10 G.I.s

June: 7 Swarm bases for WFB Lizardmen and 8 French civilians


July: 15 bases of Romans and 17 bases of Germans

Aug: Nothing…

Sept: Nothing…

Oct: Nothing…

Nov: 4 Berserkers and 12 AS Levy troops plus 3 SdKfz 251 half tracks

Dec: 4 AS Hearth guard and 12 Viking Archer levy troops plus 2 M4 Shermans and a Panzer IV H

As you can see, I wasn’t entirely successful. But, I do feel that I painted more than I would have without a self-imposed challenge. I also built and painted at least one scenery element each month. Those were houses and stores, my first crack at acrylic caulk roads, a fenced garden and a Wood Elf altar.

I already have a lineup of minis to paint for 2019, and I am hoping to better my painting rate while I paint Dark Age and Fantasy models by trying some colored primers for the first time. If I keep up this rate, and don’t buy too many models, Ill finish painting all my models sometime around 2035. Hahaha!

Painting and modeling was only part of what I accomplished in 2018. In my ongoing search for great games, I explored several new board games and a few new rule sets for miniatures gaming. I’m still waiting on those GMT games I ordered through their P500 pre-order system. So I am short one FIW game and my first sailing game. I have no idea when those will show up, but I am anxious to give them a try. I did play 2 new games in 2018.

One was from Worthington Publishing and is an adaptation of the Richard Borg Command and Colors rules set in the American War of Independence. This game is somewhat similar to Battle Cry! in setup and play. It uses the familiar 3 section map board and hex terrain, as well as similar command cards. The British have troops representing regulars, lights and elites, as well as cavalry and artillery units. The American player has regulars and elites, as well as militia troops that have some unique rules. I believe there are a couple of upgrade packs, adding in Hessians and a set of pieces to move the game back into the FIW.  I definitely need those to add to the playability and longevity of the game. It played well, and like Battle Cry!, I think it represents linear warfare very well.


The second game I finally played was GMT’s Wilderness War. It is a grand tactical game representing the entirety of the French and Indian War if you care to play the long campaign. We haven’t yet, but will soon.  One of the more novel things, in my opinion, was supply. Like many games, you must trace supply from forward units through controlled areas back to the coast, or a city or fortress to allow troops to maintain supply. Additionally, forts and villages on the frontier could only support so many troops in the winter layup. Too many troops and you took casualties from “disease” and “starvation”. I believe we lost more troops to those sources than actual combat. The siege rules really worked and demonstrated the difficulties of sieges at the time.  Many forts were raided and burned by the British, and I ran a holding action and concentrated pushes, but in the end came up short. It was a great game, and added in the differences in troop quality that is not present in our favorite FIW game, a Few Acres of Snow.

I looked at many other games in a variety of genres throughout the year. I continued my hunt for GDW’s The Third World War and bid on several offerings on eBay. And I got sniped every time. I’ve decided until I am willing to spend at least $150, I am probably NOT winning an auction for that game. So I settled for Victory Games’ The Next World War, another WWIII strategy game. It was un-punched when I got it, and I am still trying to decide if that is a bad sign!  Have read the rules once, and need to read them again before my son comes home for Christmas break. That is one of our must-play games for his time home from university. One rule I did remember was if nukes get used. If they do, there is a 50/50 chance the player that deployed them loses the game. That is a big risk!

In the hunt for a WWIII game and reading blogs and websites and reviews, I kept coming back to Team Yankee by Battlefront. I have a long association with Battlefront, playing their flagship WWII rules since the playtest days. I have watched the rollout of Team Yankee with great interest, and even read Harold Coyle’s Team Yankee book this summer. Heavy main battle tanks? Yes please! A-10 tank busters? I’ll take a pair. Cool anti-air assets, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and modern war have a bit of a draw for me. I even picked up the main rule book to give them a look. But, then I stalled. While I love the size and detail of 15mm models, the scale is just too big for the space I have to do justice to modern combat. In modern war it is the weapon ranges. I wrote about this previously for mortars in WWII. Missile ranges in moderns are even worse. So I am still on the fence for the era and scale. There aren’t any modern tanks or APCs hiding in my lead mountain. Yet.

For most of the year I only bought models I needed for the current emphasis projects I have going. The TY rules were one of only two rule sets added to my bookshelf. Then I went to Fall In!…

As reported in my Fall In! post, I picked up the Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant rules. I am still looking at them as a replacement for WFB. But the more I work on variant rules, the more I think I’ll just stick with WFB for gaming with all the GW models I have. If I was just starting out and looking for a fantasy set of rules, I’d be all over Dragon Rampant. But, I have largish WFB armies and the skirmish nature of the DR rules makes them unsuitable for mass combat.

The other “rules” I decided to add to everything I have, is Wings of Glory. After playing Peter’s fantastic Balloon Buster’s game at Fall In!, I had to get this game. I ordered the duel pack with the Albatros D.Va and the SPAD XIII from Miniature Market and the No Man’s Land game mat from Noble Knight Games. I’ve already introduced my daughter to the game, and she is a fan. She prefers it to X-Wing as it is simpler to play than X-Wing, and she liked the 3 phase planning. I have been going over a long list of models to buy to play this on a larger scale, with more scenarios, and to ensure that I can play through the 4 years of the war. There are cool campaign rules from the fan base and the increasing capabilities and lethality of the planes begs for campaign play. It is the second must-play for the break.


The last game we will fit in is Triumph! rules from the Washington Grand Company. I am looking forward to teaching both of my kids to play this one, and really looking forward to expanding my armies so all four of us can play together. Romans and Visigoth allies along with Germans and Dacians threatening the Empire should make a great game and campaign.

So what do I have enough painted stuff for at this point? I lack terrain for everything, but do have enough buildings for 15mm and 28mm WWII. I have a couple Dark Age buildings close to being finished, but not enough for a village, yet.  What I really lack are roads. They are so expensive to purchase ready-made, and a bit time-consuming to make. So I don’t have enough. I’m going to have to suck it up and build enough dirt and asphalt roads this coming year, and buy some cobblestone streets. I need a solid week of nothing else on my plate to knock out the bocage and fences and roads and tree stands I need. Then I need another week to build the jungle terrain (thanks Mel… Your Burma board has me super jealous) and Lizardmen temples and spawning pools I need for a half-planned WFB campaign involving an island that reappeared off the coast of the Old World and is shrouded in mist and jungle.

What I do have is enough Germans and Americans in 15mm to play any number of scenarios of WWII combat. I have enough Germans and Americans in 28mm now to play almost anything I want in that scale as well. I have two armies for Triumph! all painted up, plus some felt terrain. That needs to be upgraded at some point, but for now we can play. There are four 1,000+ point fantasy armies painted, and a bit of terrain. Before my son went off the college he played WFB with a friend or friends quite regularly. I have 2 points each for Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Not quite enough to play a game of SAGA. But, 2019 will definitely see more minis gaming along with the board games.

2018 also saw me start blogging. And not do a great job all summer. No excuses. I’ll try to do better. I am amazed at the people that can put out great content month after month. And I understand why some slow their posting. Good ideas are hard to come by! Winter is here, so I have a bit more time to write and post, and hopefully some good short story ideas crawl out of the shadows of my brain.

I was able to attend two Cons through the year. One Comic-Con and one gaming con. I am hoping to fit in at least 2 more gaming cons in 2019 (FlintCon and Historicon) and possibly another Comic-Con. Oh, and I am going to the Star Wars celebration in Chicago in April. I’ll be attending with my friends from over at The Credible Nerds podcast, Justin and Marc. That should be all kinds of awesome.

2019 should be a heck of a year.