Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year End Dungeon Delving

I'll save my usual excuse making for my lack of updates and get right to it. While I have not played any actual games in a good 6 weeks, I have been working on couple a long term projects, and long term projects need results to show off.  So here is my only consistent "living project". My Skirmish Dungeon. I completed the original version in June of 2010. As you can see its come along way.     

A time consuming beast, between this and its Sci Fi cousin I could spend all my free hobby alone on these projects and never run out of things to do. Unfortunately I dont really get to play many games on either of them as most of the games I play with my regular group dont revolve around the settings. one of my goals for next year is to change, while I'm still like to say I am playing some historicals I have not worked on anything but Bolt Action stuff in a good six months. I've been working on my own rulesets for games on both boards, that offer a good mix of things I like from various games and lots of my own you imagine these things are a slow grind.                                                  

    The current size of the piece in now 3 feet by 2 feet, the last 3 foot by 1 foot section is all water cavern and its "in progress", I started the casting for it last week but ran out of plaster once thats remedy I'll get back to it. I doubt it will see this 3 by 3 box it lives in filled out before late spring however, I need to get on painting  my Germans for the Bolt Action team tourney at Adepticon and that starts next week. In the meantime I am messing around with painting various figures for this and
experimenting with liquid resin. for water effects. I like the final results but I really dont like working with it.
The green devils head is nostalgic homage to classic dungeon delving.
   I always get asked for construction details on projects like this so here goes. Base material is hydrostone plaster, I use the cheaper stuff not Merlins Magic because I think Merlins shrinks too much in the mold versus this stuff so I get more consistent casts. Since I dont bang my stuff around I'm not worried about the extra durability of MM. Molds of course are all by Hirst Arts..this particular project uses Fieldstone molds 70,71,75,260 and 701 for the Dungeon section and you can get away without 701 which is just a time saver for extra pieces. The water cavern section is mainly 281 and 282..and I use molds 81 and 82 for all the filler rock stalagmite type pieces.  sections are based on 1/8" mdf, which I do not recommend because mdf warps, the biggest challenge with this project is the shitty basing material I choose..over all the weight on the bigger pieces keeps that in check but the floor only section have been challenging. I recommend 1/4" foam core for Hirst basing (which is what used on the Sci Fi build) I'll probably use that on the last water cavern section as the slight height difference should be negligible as I dont need to line up things like walls and doors.
Painting is pretty straight forward...priming black and using craft acrylics from American and Folklore (of which I like Folklore better when you can find it) textures are Woodland Scenics Pigments, Raw Umber for my dirty effect and Green Undercoat for the mold effect. Liquid resin
is two part mix from Envirotex. Other than that is all sweat and planning.

You actually see in these photos despite my griping about them, I have used a bunch of  Reaper Bones stuff this fountain which paints up very nice.

I dont really play any RPG's , and havent since I was a kid, If I did (and I'm not planing on it) I would certainly be part of the OSR movement and hence the theme and style of this leans towards that type of gaming,. I am interested good old rock paper scissor type skirmish games so hopefully I can either come up with some rules I like or find some. While I like Songs of Blades and Heroes..its not focused like say something like Mordheim or Legends of the High Seas. Two set of rules have drifted on to my radar of late (courtesy of the LAF) Trapdoor  for Fantasy type Skirmish and Rogue Planet for Sci Fi type gaming. Have tried either yet but what I read and the style both are present in are promising I'll of course report back when and If I try them out...please do the same.

I have probably a 1000+ fantasy figures (not counting Warhammer armies) of various vintages going back to the late 1970's most them are not painted. Most of the current stuff I do paint is either Otherworld or Reaper, there a couple miniatures from a cool company called Fantization Miniatures that released some cool fantasy stuff a few years back.

A this is year end post, I'll end with a brief recap. 2014 was slow year for my gaming wise, not a whole lot of gaming was had or hobbying for said gaming as illustrated as this is my lowest post count for the year since I started the blog in 2007 . I surely played Bolt Action the most followed by SAGA, Empire of the Dead and Lord of the Rings, but not more than a few games of last two all year. I'm sure I played Hail Ceasar at some point early in the year but its been so long since I played that, I cant recall.  In 2015 I'm looking forward to two Bolt Action events at Adepticon but dont think I'll get to much else. I would like play more SAGA in 2015 with both Vikings and using my Lord of the Rings collection with fan created Battleboards.  Other than that, I'll be messing around with this stuff hopefully figuring out how to get a game happening with it.

Reaper Bones.."Oxidation Beast"

Otherworld figs mainly here, the Lich is Reaper

Otherworld, Reaper and the guy holding is helmet is a rare Crusader Figure

The Reaper Bones Flesh Golem, skulking around with My Otherworld Evil Wizard.. This bones fig lacked a bit a detail but painted up well.
I recall from my childhood days of RPG gaming how much I hated these things, when Otherworld put one out years  I had to pick one up.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

German Vehicles, New Terrain

 Post Operation Sting, I am still focused on Bolt Action. In fact right after the event some three weeks back back, Aaron and I got brain storming on our team army for Adepticon 2015.  The event is a side by side 1600 point per side event,(or so I am told pre-registration, so subject to change)  We are running  Late War Eastern Front, German Army made up of Waffen SS, and Panzergrenadier Units.

 My side of the force contains 3 Vehicles, 2- 9 man squads, an HQ and a Sniper team, I have couple different version of the army at 1000 points so everything I am  building for 800 points in the Team format will work great with next years run playing Germany. The first unit I built was the Sd.Kfz 7/1 Quad Flak in my Tank slot. Given American Air Power at Operation Sting, this thing has 4 autocannons can also totally shred infantry and softskin vehicles, while its got the "open top" liability and makes a juicy target its takes the focus off my other units which is fine.
 The kit itself is $45 and the gun comes with a full trailer and separate mount so its a pretty good deal as you see in the following pictures, I can set the up as a tow and use it as artillery piece if I want my tank slot for something else. For this list is one the half track but the options are a good bargain.
The kit itself is definitely not one of warlords best, clearly an older kit it took alot of work and I ended replacing all the gun barrels and some other cast bits that were just really poor, I also took the time to magnetize the gun base, both actually guns so they swivel from 45 -180 degrees and of course the gun spins 360 degrees on truck bed and trailer mount. I also laid out a bit of stowage on the deployed setup of the vehicle.
 The next vehicle is my transport Krupp Protze Kfz.69, this is a 1/48 Tamiya Kit with tons of detail it took quite of bit of time to build as its got about 10X the pieces of your standard Warlord resin vehicle. This kit also cams with Pak 36 gun in tow with Trailer as well , I havent built that yet but will when I get the full 1000+ plus fielded...Here I show the truck towing the Quad Flak.
 In Game its a transport for one of my Squads to get them where they need to be quick, I was kind of kicking myself for not getting Kfz.70 version which have the box back and holds the right amount of guys. with build the truck is 6 man vehicle my squad is 9...for abstract gaming purposes I dont think it matters.

Finally the vehicle is probably the most popular German vehicle in the Bolt Action game. The Sd.Ffz 234/2 Puma, a special purpose vehicle , the Germans actually only managed to make a hundred of them during the war, its frequency in Bolt Action gaming is akin to say a Panzer IV that they manage to crank out almost 9000 of through out the war.

Gamewise the Puma hits the sweet spot of good armor, great firepower and has the "reece" ability making it one of the better vehicles in game considering the point costs of things like Panthers and Tigers,  I be remiss not fielding one. Although I was tempted to run one of the variants , I already has this kit from late last year.
Speaking of the kit this one is very easy build my only grip is the cast metal gun is pretty poor as well, I may pick the new plastic version coming out this month after seeing the preview shots..also this version at 1/56 scale feels a bit whether this actual vehicle ends up in my army remains to be seen.  As you seen on my here I added about 1/2 dozen bits of stowage.

If you notice in my post title I mention "Terrain" I also put together two of Warlord recent terrain offering both repackaged Italeri kits , The Stone Walls box and the Wrecked House kit. You can see both in the earlier photos, If you go to the Italeri  site you can see both were made as 1/72 (20mm) kits while the walls work great, and Ill be picking up a second box, the building while a cool, easy build- feels way to small especially against the WG village kits or my scratch terrain. I was hoping to use this kit to kit bash some larger eastern european city buildings for our army display but it looks like we will need to go another route. As it stands the kit will make a nice command post solo terrain piece but its doent really fit into the village set up on my board like I was hoping. 

Overall I am well on my way, I've got 18 guys to clean and base then I can practicing and playing. 
Adepticon 2015 doesnt hold a ton of variety for me this year due to time I am putting in on this, Bolt Action events are it for me this year, unless I hit a demos or pick up games of something or using existing stuff I already have.  There was talk of doing some Empire of the Dead or Saga but I just wont have the time. I'll be talking more about Adepitcon at it new location and what I am up to when the cart goes live on Monday November 24th, until then that's what's up for me on the gaming front.

Couple shots of the Quad Flak deployed...Cool.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Operation Sting AAR

Operation Sting went down last weekend at the Chicago Northbrook Hilton, and like its predecessor the now retired Bilbo's Birthday Bash, its immediately become my favorite fall event. We ended up with 17 players, I know small in comparison to Adepticon numbers but pretty standard turnout for this event over the years regardless of the game system moving from Lord of the Rings to Bolt Action. I did get to meet a bunch of great new people playing this game whom I hope to get game with again soon. While I came away empty handed in the awards categories, I manage to win games 1, 3 and 5 for a 3-2 record. After my terrible 0-3 performance at Adepticon winning some games and figuring out how to play my army felt pretty good.

The overall Army spread was :
3 Russian
1 Japanese
1 Italian
3 US
2 British
7 German

I was fortunate enough to face 4 German players and 1 Japanese player, normally my Red Devils face off against Germans so playing two Fallschimjager lists, a German Heer Infantry list and a Waffen SS list was nothing new to me. Game 2 which I lost to my boy Kyle was really neck and neck till turn 4 when he broke it open by nailing my Humber with a immobilizing lucky mortar hit as it was moving to take out his 105mm Howitzer team that was keeping me at bay. This game was particularly fun because I got to play Kyle on my board and after knowing each for years we finally got to play as we have never managed to get together outside of tournament, it was a great game in the end the British just came up short.

From my basement to the Hilton.
There isnt much to mention about my game against the Japanese, it was the worst game of Bolt Action I have played and it little to do with army being Japanese, all to do with my opponents win at all cost attitude at the expense of having a fun game, his selective interpretation of the rules at various times was also a bummer. I dont get into it with people about this kind of stuff, it so rarely happens to me that I just let people do what they are going to do and roll with it. I know some of my pals disagree with my laid back attitude on this, but I just dont care. We do this to have fun, and if I play someone who insists on winning at the expense of that because that is what they need to get thru the day, I'm ok with that every now and then.

Tyler's Russians looking fantastic!
One the flip side my other three games again German Armies, were against great guys, and were great games and alot of fun, Mark, Duane and Seamus, hats to these guys for rolling into a tournament they've never been to and having the right attitude and a good time.

 Ill share a couple quick anecdotes;

Game 1 against Duane who I just met 10 secs before we rolled dice was "Hold until Relieved". Having played this one a bunch being the defender is real ballbuster, so winning the opening die roll, I choose to attack. The table  setup was pretty advantageous to me I  had multiple flanking positions and clear lanes of fire on the objective. The mission also allows me to deploy deep into the table. I then got lucky with big artillery strike the put pins and kills on at least a half dozen units at the top of turn three. by turn 4 Duane had taken enough losses, I was assaulting from 3 directions with support from all sides, he knew it was a seriously uphill climb. Still he played out the last two turns having a good time and just rolling with it, Obviously Duane carried this attitude throughout the weekend as I was not surprised as his name was called as "Best Sportsman", during the awards.

After my terrible game 4, Game 5 turned out to be single handedly the best game of Bolt Action I have played to date,  Against another new player whom I just met -Mark, he was playing next to me during my game 4 debacle. Mark had a well rounded Waffen SS force, and this game was neck and neck all the way till turn 6. The scenario was "Maximum Attrition", having played that one the most I always go after small teams first to try to knock order dice out of the bag, so even though I was up by two dice in turn was another fluke artillery strike, that really only damaged one squad Ill rolled stupid good and it took the squad off the board right at the top of turn two.
Jeremy's Italians
Turn 6, we are both setup with squad just barely hanging on when the dice start breaking my way, I hit his 3 man HQ team with mortar on the first try as they tried to support a heavily pinned squad the needed a desperate order check. I end up taking the whole HQ squad out, which caused the pinned squad which get shot again and knocked below half, to fail it morale check...putting me up by 4 dice we do roll the 7th turn and I am still in danger of losing at least three dice if Mark can catch a break. He doesnt, we each add a order die with one kill each on. turn 7 and I still win by 4 dice..but it was alot closer than it sounded really until the very end of turn 6,  I know how frustrating that can be to see victory so close but you just can roll higher than a "2"  Mark laughed it off as "shit happens"
like you are supposed to.
Overall a great weekend, final scores are not posted yet but I feel I did the British Army right and they placed well as one of the two Armies there that weekend. There is ton of Bolt Action going on at Adepticon this year and Aaron and I are going to play in the team tourney so we are already talking about that. Not much else to add other than a great weekend with some great folks. Congrats to the winners, especially Jeremy for pulling of the appearance award the guy is really working his tail off with two totally converted and wonderfully painted new armies in the past year, his Japanese and Italians. It's well deserved.

In non gaming news I played hooky this afternoon and went to see FURY. Its not for the squeamish, but if you are WW2 history fan or war movie far, its an awesome character study of the bleakness at  the end of that war. We often forget when we play these games that they are based on realities that had incredible human cost. See it for its intense action sequences, and grim reality of war but be reverent to the message, Brad Pitts character sums the film up well with a six word statement early in its running time,  "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."

Airstrikes are super powerful in Bolt Action..thankfully I only saw one plane in 5 games but they were certainly there.

Tyler D's Russian were quite slick, I really like these.

My Stuart bogged down against advancing infantry, there is 105mm Howitzer out of frame bombing me and eventually the panzerfausts his there mark

Friday, October 17, 2014

The New Table

 Finally completed and played a game on the new table, a generic crossroads with a dirt road, I designed it for Bolt Action, but changing the terrain easily makes it usable for lots of other games.
Aaron Germans roasted me last night in the Demolition scenario, I should have guessed thing were not off to a good start when both my phone and camera batteries died within 5 minutes of each other.
There were of course no pictures from my end and snap these this afternoon just before I took the whole thing down a boxed it up to take to the Tournament in  wee hours of the morning.
I'll spare you details other then on of my vehicles failed it reserve entry roll of a "9" four turns in a row to finally show up turn 6, I'll botched my artillery strike calling in on myself and my Flamer Crew defending my Command Post ran out of fuel on the first shot, Yeah ,one of those games

As for the table here, I feel like I have working on it forever, the bridge section was constructed back in January and the original plan was to have it in this shape for Adepticon which didnt happen , so here it finally is -in October! I still have the liquid resin to do on the resin and I am going to get some more appropriate buildings- but this about it, I wasnt to move on to some other projects.
 I tell myself if I build three more sections I will have options for a ton of different layouts we will see how that goes, right now I am contest with it as is..we will see how people like playing on it this weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Operation Sting , a Yank brings his Brits

In effort to keep on posting, given my long absence, I set up my Army Display for the weekend and took a few shots. Not much different than my Adepticon list with exception that I dropped my QF 6-PDR and replaced with a Stuart M5A1. some adjustment to my veterancy levels allowed me to squeeze in a Flame Thrower team. Considering how much abuse I took from Flame Throwers last event I figured I return the favor. This list plays well against a like minded opponent who want to cover all the bases at 1000 points with a little of everything in one platoon. Planes or Heavy Tanks
I dont really have an answer for. Even against a medium tank, I have my work cut out for me but at least now all my Anti Tank stuff is mobile. Aaron and I are playing tomorrow night so I'll have some pics of all our stuff on the new completed table and you can see where my hobby time has gone.
really looking forward to the weekend, we will see if can win a game at tournament for Bolt Action which has so far eluded me. Excuse the photos my lighting wasnt the best some are a bit washed out.


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