Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Axis and Allies


The other weekend I finally convinced my wargames buddies to try a hand at Axis And Allies WW1. The game, as one would expect from this series, has excellent components and clearly written rules. The map took some getting used to but we settled right in after the first turn or so. The game mechanic where you can co-exist with enemy units in the same space really changed the feel and play of the game and gave a satisfyingly different pattern of game-play. As in reality the race is for the Central Powers to find a road to victory before the Americans decide to toss their hat in the ring and put and end to the nonsense in Europe. It is very easy for them to get over-extended in the East and find it difficult to return victorious troops to the West in time to exploit the success.

All in all we agreed that the game played fast and well and gave a very effective reflection of the strategic problems faced by both sides.

Recommended to any Great War fan



An intersting source of information on the War That Never Was

In one of my aimless ramblings around the interwebs I stumbled across a treasure trove this blog.

It seems to have everything related to The Cold War that one could desire. Take a look. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

J&R Quick Notes and Queries

Hey all, just putting out some some notes on what's going on, as well as a few questions to put to the group.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Not So Cold War

A few weeks ago Tom from Texas hosted a Cold War game at his houise using a portion of his his newly-acquired 1/87th scale collection of Cold War minis. The scenario posited that an assault by the Soviet bloc had been turned back and the NATO forces were on the counter-attack. The scenario was set at night and consisted of a Soviet recon unit covering a likely crossing point on a German river. The NATO forces had armored infantry supported by armor and motorized bridging units.


the field of battle, first the Russian side of the river



and the NATO side,
the unfortunate habit of rivers running through low ground meant that the NATO forces could hide behind some convenient hills during their approach

Monday, October 5, 2015

More VSF silliness

Not exactly VSF, more like "futurism" of the past. The Washington Post has some interesting illustrations like the one below at this link. Jinkies, I love airships!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

28mm Ironclads at Last

So, after literally years of building these silly things I have managed to get in a game. It is based on our old mythical VSF campaign of Daftrica. The German colony Deutsches Ost Daftrikan Organization (a.k.a. D.O.D.O. for short) was based at the original colony of Kaiserinport. This issued into a large bay grandly titled Der Kaiserin Zee. Below you see a map of the area.



The scenario is this; the Prussian Crown Prince is touring the colonies when a war breaks out in Europe. The news of this is passed along the telegraph line to the colony but there is one glitch; the cable is routed through a French colony on its way to Kaiserinport. The French had word of the impending conflict and have interrupted the cable service, leaving the Germans without a clue. The French have used the time to assemble what they consider to be a preponderance of naval force to interdict the return of the Crown Prince to his home.

Yesterday a fast mail steamer slipped past the French blockade and the news was delivered to the Crown Prince. He has resolved to use the forces at hand to return to his homeland to join in the fight (the armies are commanded in his absence by his septuagenarian half-wit uncle) or die trying.

As the sun comes up a French picket boat is seen flying a flag of truce in the Kaiserin Zee, assuming that the French intend to surrender the Germans begin to raise steam and  investigate this development.

the French picket boat approaches

Monday, September 21, 2015

D&D Update #3: Time Changes and Other Stuff

Hey yo,

It's your friendly neighborhood Dungeon Master, giving a bit of an update on what's going on.

First, regarding the Friday and Saturday groups. I think at this point with the way things are going, I'm going to split up the Friday and Saturday groups. This is largely because the Friday group has grown out in such a way that trying to allow the groups to mix is ultimately not going to work in the long run, and is more of an active hindrance to doing larger adventures. So at this point, I'd rather call a clean cut between the two rather than tying both groups down to each other. For the most part, this is a message to the Saturday group (since you are the ones who actually follow the blog), though I'm sure you'll meet up the Friday group sometime in the future.

After their inevitable descent into super-villainy, of course.

Secondly, I've had a few people come to me with scheduling problems for this upcoming week, so I'm going to tentatively move it back to Friday, October 2nd, 2015. I find this to be an added bonus, since I recently got a rather decent-sized order of new miniatures because of actions taken by the Saturday group, and this gives me a bit more time to finish painting them up. With an extra week, we might well have a game that has only painted minis!

Mmm... Painted Minis...
Thirdly, something that I've been working on but haven't fully gotten around to completing is a "Skills Guide" that gives everyone some ideas as to what you can do, rather than me just telling you. The guide isn't meant to be completely comprehensive, so if something isn't necessarily on there, it doesn't mean you can't do it. I'll try to send that out by Wednesday (I'm doing some editing, but it's close to finished) by email, so you guys can give me some feedback as to anything you'd want to include on there.
This could be you!
If you have any comments, questions, or criticisms, please leave them in the comments below!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another interesting resource

Scientific American has compiled their Great War articles into an anthology. A good many of the articles are available on line here.  This article particularly caught my eye. They provide an interestingly contemporary view of the conflict. A good way to waste some time!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Better than Google earth?

Take a look at this site, it is released spy satellite photos of historic places in the middle east, TONS of detail when you zoom in, great for setting up realistic terrain for games!
 CORONA Atlas of the Middle East

Yeah, I lost some time on this.........

Monday, August 31, 2015

Upcoming Events at my Friendly Local Hobby Shop (Michigan Toy Soldier)

I am a firm believer in supporting the brick-and-mortar side of our hobby, not that I don't use the internet to communicate and make purchases mind you. I just think that if I can get an item from my local hobby store I should do so, I will even order it and wait the few extra days more than Amazon or Ebay......it isn't as if I don't have thirty years worth of back-logged minis to paint, so a day or so wait will go unnoticed.


Michigan Toy Soldier has embraced wargamers and goes to some considerable lengths to try to provide for our hobby so I do try to return the favor.


They are currently hosting open gaming on Saturdays and Thursdays, they have a nice area for gaming and have some terrain to hand.


For more details call them at 248-586-1022 or go to their website; michtoy.com


Just a heads up as to upcoming events at the store;

Friday, August 21, 2015

Not an Excuse, but an Apology

I haven't been keeping up my posting schedule of late as this summer has proven to be quite busy. Of late I decided to build four new bookcases and to rearrange my library. This has proven to be a significant undertaking and has absorbed an inordinate amount of my time. Fear not! Both the Frontier Fort and Pirate Sloop build projects will continue as my schedule will become a more regular thing soon.

As proof of my labors I provide the attached photos of my New And Improved  library


 the southeast corner,
 history begins in the upper left corner and moves around the chronologically, 
ancients and middle ages on the left, Age of Reason and Napoleonic Era in the middle, US War of 1812 and Civil War on the right with some of the lower shelves given over to board games

Friday, August 7, 2015

Grandfather of Steampunk, Albert Robida

First, I must apologize for the lack of postings of late. I have been busy caring for two of my granddaughters and this has brought most work to a halt, what  little time I have had free was devoted to building four additional bookshelves for my endlessly expanding collection. BUT, while trolling aimlessly on the internet I found this fellow, Albert Robida, a Frenchman of rare artistry and talent. A contemporary of Jules Verne and H.G.Wells he possessed not only an imagination for seeing into the future but the artistic talent to give rise to stunning images such as you see below. Take a few minutes and do a Google Images search on his name, oceans of inspiration is to be had!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

28mm Fantasy/Dark Ages Fort comes to Ruin!

Having finished the fort in its "as new" version I decided to expand the game-play options by making some of the sections as ruins/attacked areas. Mostly I have been dying to find a use for these really coo,l construction blocks that my kids got me for Christmas last year (hey, there is a twist....kids buying toys for DAD at Christmas time). Fortunately they fit in perfectly and I was off to the races with my hot glue gun in hand.




 the real culprits, the fort was just an excuse


from Ludington Michigan, a local product!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fantasy/Dark Ages Frontier Fort, the floor tiling edition

I will readily admit that tiling the floor of Fort Matanzas was an exercise in vanity. As I was working on the Fantasy fort it occurred to me that as D&D is played on a squared surface and that it  would greatly ease play if the level surfaces were demarcated in squares. Looking at the model I realized that I should have marked out the squares before I started building things, ah, hindsight! The answer to this was to cut a zillion square tiles and stick them down on any surface that figures might be placed on. A somewhat tedious answer, but an effective one all the same. So I fired uo the Proxxon hot wire cutter and got to work. In a very short time I had mounds of tiles ready to go. My schedule kept me from tidyiong up the workspace and then Justice and Rule dropped by to set up his Star Wars game. In his usual efficient style he organized the stock items I had cut and added a whimsical touch of his own, see beow;

a tiny crew had shown up to assist me in my labors 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

28mm Fantasy/Dark Ages Fort Part III

I had a couple of free hours this evening so I finished the structure of the fort. I have several swapable (is that even a word?) sub-structures that fit in the courtyard and I have managed to make most of the partition walls moveable. We will go through this layer by layer;


the base,
I am thinking of reworking this with modular subunits as well

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

28mm Frontier Fort, Part II

I had an hour or so free after I got home from work today and found that The Housemartin had dropped off the promised matte board. This allowed me to start on the interior units of the fort. I want the model to be used over and over again without it becoming stale. I intend to make most of the interior structures as independent  units so that they can be re-arranged at will.

the Proxxon hot wire cutter makes it easy to produce a lot of identical parts,
 these are walls to divide the bays of a stable

Dungeons & Dragons, Stars & Wars

Hey, your friendly Dungeon Master here, just wanting to give you a quick update on when the next D&D games will be, as well as the game for this Saturday.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Taking a Break from Boats (for a while)

I was still growling about the rigging/sails thing when my long-time buddy, The Housemartin, mentioned that he was getting his kids into the newly released edition of D&D..H e asked if I would be kind enough to build a multi-use fort for dungeon-crawling and adevturing. This seemed a pleasant change from fore-stays and braces so I agreed. He gave me some sketch plans of the fort and told me to allow my imagination a free rein.

What you see below is the start of things. I am planning on making things as modular as possible to allow many reconfigurations to enhance the model's playability.

the hill on which sits the fort, the basement is set up as a store-room,
ruler for scale

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dystopian Wars Perhaps?

It has been a while since we played (in other words it has been a while since I took a drubbing)  Is anybody interested in playing DW this weekend, it would certainly make terrain set-up easy! We also have to dragoon Kris into GMing.

Please respond in the comments section.


So we played and had a blast! Thanks again to Kris for running the game and Tom for letting us use his lovely model boats. The British slipped past the Russians for the Win;  mostly by dint of better dice rolling (and we were faced by Tom and Brad, two men who long-ago angered the Dice Gods and have never figured out how to make amends). It was quite interesting to use a fleet that I was not familiar with. The Brits have some awesome heavy units and dangerous torpedoes, the Russians have devastating firepower at close range and all sorts of neat tools to allow them to survive long enough top use them. Neither fleet is a "technique" fleet, but they both darned good bludgeons.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Not At all Quiet on the Martian Front!






The Housemartin dropped by with his extensive collection of AQotMF toys and ran a game for us the Saturday before the 4th of July. Yes, I am late in filing my AAR. The scenario is that U.S. and Canadian forces are meeting up to attack a Martian base that is nearby and seems poorly defended. The Martians have figured out the simple Marconi radio-telegraphs used by the humans and know the attack is coming and have laid an ambush for the unsuspecting humans.





Canadian recon blips advance

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rigging the Pirate Sloop, The Disaster Edition

So I was working on the Pirate sloop, I have sorted out the standing rigging to my satisfaction. It looks right but leaves plenty of room to handle miniature (which is the reason for al this after all). I began working on the running rigging. On a real sailing vessels there is a complex web of lines that move the yard arms and another set controlling the sails. To make this manageable for gaming I had to severely reduce the amount of lines. I also had to keep in mind the idea that the masts will be removable from the hull for storage purposes.

This is where disaster struck. I had added some detail (a pin rail or three specifically) just to make the boat look better. The problem is that the pin-rails were glued to the hull. When I started tying the running rigging to them I neglected the idea that the mast needed to be easily removed from the hull (this after going to great lengths to ensure that the standing rigging was all detachable). I found that I had securely attached the masts to the hull via the running rigging.

I have to confess that a fair amount of swearing ensued.

The running rigging was all hacked away and is the waste basket.

Now I am back to just my standing rigging. At least the ratlines look pretty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rigging the Pirate Sloop

I have begun researching the rigging for the Pirate Sloop and came across this site quite honestly I find the amount of rigging on a real ship to be terrifying! A VERY LARGE amount of editing will have to take place before I can decide on the final rig. The Historical Naval Ships website is a fountain of information (OK I confess I wasted a couple of hours digging around on this site) If you are at all interested in Naval Ships take a look.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let's Build a Pirate Sloop Rats! It's Ratlines!

I have always struggled with the balance between modeling and gaming, more so than some as I came to war gaming from scale modeling and I still feel "the urge" to add useless delicate details that add little to the value of a wargames model but satisfy my desire for it to be "just so".

Rigging on model ships is one of the sore points; none and the model looks ridiculous, the proper amount and it is unplayable. A delicate balance must be found. One of the trademark things about an old school sailing vessel was the ratlines, the rope ladders that the sailors used to climb aloft and adjust the sails. I have seen people use screening, netting and variations on gauze, some of which worked well enough in smaller scales. The problem being is that this is 28mm (heroic 28mm at that) which means that the real scale is between 1/60th and 1/48th. Far too large to even try to get away with using rabbit fencing or screening. For me at least there was but one path to follow; making it the way the real thing was done, in other words The Hard Way.


In reality it isn't nearly as bad as one would think, a bit of thought and preparation and it becomes a simple task (demanding of some careful attention but far easier than painting buttons!). As with anything that needs to be made to a regular size and shape a jig or frame is the way to go, see the picture below:


   The horizontal lines are 1/2" apart, the posts are arts and crafts spools purchased at Hobby Lobby and the board is just a bit of scrap plywood I had lying about the workshop, for a single-use you could easily use heavy cardboard as your backer and push-pins for the posts. The lower row of posts are the ends of the ratlines that tie into the dead-eyes (more of which in a later post) the two top posts are the ends that attach to the mast or crow's nest. As I am going to be making at least five sets of ratlines I opted for a sturdy  set up and glued everything solidly in place.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Rigging Plans, Sloop, Brig and Brigantine

     I worked up some simplistic rigging plans for three types of ship; a sloop, a brig and a brigantine. All of these can legitimately be built using the Pirate Sloop hull. I plan on building one of each, just to keep my fleet from looking like they were built on a production line.

   We start with my sketch of the hull;