Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Wayside Inn

Every December or January, I seem to start some type of Hirst Arts project. This time I finally got around to building myself a proper Inn. Called "The Wayside" its in the mythical town of Blackbarrow. I gave me the chance to try to out some of the newer Hirst Arts molds, namely the Inn Molds, 57,58, the Inn floor mold 221 and the Half Timber plank molds 224,225. Currently we are playing both Otherworld Skirmish and Frostgrave, and the Inn is used with both games, I am sure if I every get into playing some Pirates again, they will find "The Wayside" quite confortable.

This project was inspired by a totally amazing Inn I saw over on the Hirst Arts forum, that much more detailed than mine here. But this is about as big as I can go and have it playable for my town.
The Inn features:  The Tavern Room, a private meeting room, a store room, a large kitchen, 2 private rooms upstairs and a large common room upstairs

Notice the combination of walls on the second story. Its half my old school building approach, using some planks over poster board with some spackle and half done with  the Timber molds on the front on two sides.  I was well into construction on the project when the Half Timber molds where released so you have combination of materials, which I found I quite liked.
 I had alot of trouble with Airbubbles on the Inn molds..usually I can bang out most of any air bubbles, even this year when I made a vibrating table out of an old scroll saw I had, I still needed to buy some sulficant and  literally had to brush it into the mold cavities on certain pieces in order to get clean casts, These molds are really great but do require a bit more work. you'll will notice some airbubbles on some of the tables, I will replace them eventually with better cast pieces.

The First floor is three separate sections, and the Roof is 3 separate sections, fitting the roofs , which are all scratch builts took some serious trial and error , fitting numerous paper templates before I started cutting plastic card.

The whole second story is one continuous "L" shaped piece, base around a solid piece of 1/4 laminate wood, that I scored with a dremel to make the floors.

My medieval village table. Blackbarrow is about 4 x 10 at this point and its my ongoing project going forward this year. It features, The Village of a dozen building ,now with The Inn and a Graveyard, Castle Blackbarrow, which looms at the head of the table, is my Pirate Castle expanded, and what I plan to finish next. Finally we have some Ruins which lead down to my Dungeon which are projects long completed well documented here.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results few things I do different and may change, I still need to add a bunch more interior details when time allows. the most complicated building I have done yet due to large scratch second story and roofing.

There is a google photo gallery showing another dozen or so pictures linked in the photo galleries section on the left sidebar, please check it out.

Materials list.

Hirst Molds  70,75,701, 260, 57,58, 220, 221, 224,225
Plaster - Hydrostone
Laminated MDF 1 sheet 1/4"
Posterboard, standard sheet 1/4"
Roofs are Plastruct Wood Shake Shingle #91655 I need 4 sheets to do the 3 roof sections
1 Cereal Box for stiff card roof backing, overhanging shingles and roof trim.

Time to start to finish..approx 60 hours.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Conan and the Lamentation of Kickstarter.

I'll admit to having a Conan fetish..It all started with the Savage Sword of Conan black and white Comics I started picking up around the late 70's , a time when the rest of my friends where all about the original Star Wars movies. I quickly started gobbling up the original (BWS) Marvel series as well so by the time I was 16 and the Conan the Barbarian the movie came out, I was freaking out as I owned literally 100's of various Comics and Books, reading all the original Howard stories I could get my hands on at the time. Flash forward 30 something years and I of course picked up Age of Conan , The Strategy Board Game, at the time published by then hungry for titles- Fantasy Flight Games.

The thing about board games is I own very few because I rarely play them. I do like playing them very much and I often revel in memory of my one and only 8 hour Twilight Imperium Session. However these heady board games are of no interest to my wife, and any gaming time I do get I am always with serious miniatures hobbyists, so despite all our love of board games, it was only on a proverbial blue moon that we actually stopped playing "X"  miniatures games and played a board game with a decent group.

Still back in November of 2014 , 16 months ago..that fact I had never actually played Age of Conan, The Strategy Board game..didnt stop me for getting in the Kickstarter that Ares Games , new owners of the games license had launched  re -publishing the game with a hefty expansion. now coined. "Age of Conan, Adventures in Hyboria."

great box  art , in fact all the art on the new cards and in game is very much to my liking classic 70's Conan.

So this expansion has arrived today, since I owned the base game, I just got the expansion and retooled original components and put up some extra for some very nice "King Conan" official coins that can be used in place of the coin counters in the game and also for whatever type gaming you like.
The expansion is packed solid with all kinds of neat stuff including miniatures that expand the core game and its play style. All of which I have zero clue of what they do or are used for -because I have never played this game, even thou Its been in my closet since probably 2010.

The additional  conundrum I faced is right after I bought into this, not 3 months later in February of 2015 is that from out of nowhere Monolith Games launches it own Kickstarter  for its very own Conan Miniatures games with amazing 28-32mm plastic figures!, of course I freak out and buy into that too...( after many delays due to miniatures QA and delivering so many miniatures from the factory, we are currently looking at delivery late this year, 1 year past the original est. delivery date.)

 Now the Core pledge here , which I bought into with only a select few add ons, is literally 100's of miniatures. I've been working hard to prune my collection the last year and have done a pretty good job. although I still have along way to go just to shed myself of stuff I havent touched in 5+ years! let alone the host of vintage items, I have come to terms with parting with.  SO. To get to the point of this post, despite my Conan fetish I need both of these like I need  a hole in the head. Its extremely unlikely I will ever get around to playing either of them, despite my best efforts to and even thou I would really like to. but its just doesnt seem feasible or realistic. So the reality is both of these will be going up for sale , the board game with expansion, ASAP, (thou I am keeping the Coins) and the Miniatures game when it arrives. Although there I am keeping the extra Yag Kosha and Brom based sculpts of Conan and Belit  to paint up for the shelf here.

The lamentation of Kickstarter is a powerful thing, these things all seem like great ideas at the time because you are waning nostalgic and invested in the intellectual property enough that it hooks you in like a shark in a feeding frenzy.  Then when the euphoria is long long gone, most likely 2 years later it finally arrives and you find yourself saying wow this is really cool? but so what?. In reality I have shed all of large format army games over the last 2- 3 years, Warhammer, Hail Ceasar, Flames of War. because its really only realistic that I make time to paint and play smaller skirmish type war games. There comes a certain point where you must challenge your hobbies aspirations, look yourself in the mirror and say "what the hell am I doing?"  (I find even my love for Bolt Action being tested just recently due to investment of hobby time versus the actual payoff of return in the fun department.)

In Schwarzenegger's 1982 Conan, he has what has become one of the most well remembered lines of the genres history, when asked by the Mongol General, "Conan, what is best in life?" he replies

"Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women."

Conan never had to worry about Kickstarter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Adepticon 2016 Photo Dump

Adepticon 2016 has come and gone, I was there all four days but only played in the Bolt Action Nationals on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament was a personal let down for me, I wont dwell on it, other than to say I had host of things that bothered me, from my four epic "fubars" that cost me two games , to the bloody lack of space between tables, again, to the abysmal lighting, again.    To allowing a super majority of players to bring Germans and not alerting everyone in the months before the event so some could have switched Armies. As a result and I am sure others German players clueless to this German glut, played 3 of our 5 games against Germans which was not very thematic in tournament that worked hard to promote theme.  As as an example, at Operation Sting last fall the German player total was 8/25, so at least as local players we could not have expected this. It would be nice if they could split the sign ups 50/50 Axis vs Allies..many other events have done this in the past, asking you what army you are bringing when you register. ( please see below for an update on these original comments)

It was also super disappointing to see the Warlord Games staff not helping run their own "US Nationals"  event (especially the set up/ tear down and judging!) leaving the local organizer ( a friend of mine) to do about everything single handed. While they did apparently run the other Bolt Action events, they were hands off on this one, which was too bad as they were physically present but not involved , As a result the event felt under staffed to me, having to run to scoring table for a ruling or having to see armies being appearance judged while a game is being played (which is huge pet peeve of mine going back to those massive WFB tourneys they used to have) One man can only do so much.

 However It was nice to see that Warlord and Adepticon did step up with rock solid prize support this year after dropping the ball the last two.  The event was extremely well organized from a T.O. perspective it was just damaged by it not really being a marquis event but a "Specialist Game" , that term -which Adepticon actually uses-  is perfect if you equate how Games Workshop treated its own "Specialist Games" versus its Marquis games over the years, its the exact same relationship. And finally for 6th time now since 2010 I lost a maxed out "judged" Best Appearance score to the "player voted" Favorite Army tie breaker, and fondly remember the days when these both used to be separate awards.

As for the photo dump- the link is in the photo gallery side bar to left, its about 220 photos, just a heads of whats in there before you click..

Tons of Bolt Action, some of my game pics, and lots of the Armies
A few shots of the Crystal Brush heavy hitters..(Like the Orc Lord above)
A shot of my daughter standing in front of some 40K super titan with a building on its head asking me "how big do miniatures get?"
The freaking epic Warmaster game in 28mm!
A couple of shots of the Charity Raffle Armys..
Some  pics of the Fist Full of Seamen Ships and Tables.

What you wont see..

Any Fantasy gaming
Any 40K gaming
Any Star Wars

Adepticon is a huge event now and an all year business for the guys that run it, and it couldnt run without the volunteers that I have a great respect for. Like any big convention, it now suffers the trappings of a big convention, you get the good with the bad, there are tons of options for gaming and a lot of stuff to see- but you can spend 4 days there and not see those old or "once a year"  friends you've made because the thing is big enough, you are not just going to run into them unless you have the time to make the time. Alot of the old Adepticon camaraderie that used to exist between players of all stripes has fallen by the wayside as a result of the conventions growth. While I do like the Hotel its super expensive and oddly isolating due to the layout. I'm going to try to make time to go to Little Wars at the end of the month which is at the old hotel that Adepticon used to be at and I want to see how it compares to charm of Adepticon in say 2011 or 12 which I think were its banner years. This was my 11th year at Adepticon, I am sure I will be back in some capacity for 2017, for what I'll just have wait and see...

(Update 4/9), Upon further investigation it seems I got some bad information, its seems that Germans only fielded 13/40 spots or 32% which isnt terrible , when I asked about this I given a 70% number which was what bothered me, However that was in the Doubles that I didnt play in,  So it seems no one "screwed this up" I was a mere victim of bad luck in the swiss pairings that is all. The problem did exist but not for me  so I want to apologize for unjust criticism here pointed at event organizers. I still hope correcting some of my valid issues, particularly keeping forces paired to Axis vs Allies in future BA events is a goal I hope all TO's can event managers can work toward, as playing your own army 3 out 5 games in WW2 Theme event, even with the above caveats  is not working for me.


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