Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kickstarter Watch 4 ending - Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit

At this moment we are down the last 24 hours on the Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit. While I'm still on the fence about purchasing it because of the scarcity of funds at the moment (darn that patio renovation) I think that this is a kickstarter well worth getting into if you like making terrain with hexes.

A couple of stretch goals have been added like the trench maker which is the one I'm interested in adding on.

Here is the kickstarter link again: Kickstarter Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit

Trench Maker for a 6mm trench

Trench Maker for a 28mm trench

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Patio Renovation Phase 1

This has been a really busy year for just about everything except my hobbies! The latest renovation is expanding the patio into more of an outdoor living space. The original concept was just to add on to the existing concrete patio. However, after all the outdoor furniture and rugs had been removed from the old space we discovered that it had continued to crack quite badly. The contractor recommended we replace the old concrete at the same time so that everything would match. We bit the bullet and coughed up more cash to get the project done right. 

Phase 1 involved the destruction and removal of the existing concrete, digging out the area for the new concrete, prepping everything for the concrete pour and then pouring and finishing the new surface. The concrete is setting now under a bundle of thermal blankets as winter finally decided to arrive here in the middle of the project,

I really didn't keep a good photographic record of this project so it begins with the pile of concrete, the remains of the old patio. This is about half, one load has already gone to the dump or where ever they take this stuff.

The pile of concrete by the time I realized I had not taken any pictures of the work.

The edges are defined by the 2x4s and the wire mesh is in place

They were able to cut around the concrete base of the garden entry and the existing water fountain.

The concrete pour starts. I found the whole process rather fascinating.

Larry supervised the entire operation

Friday, November 18, 2016

In Search of: Bachmann On30 2-8-0

If you have been reading my blog on a somewhat regular basis over the last few years or so then you are aware that a big part of the wild west town of Calamity will be the railroad. While I have a reasonable selection of 2-6-0 Moguls, freight and passenger cars at this point I'm still lacking the key player the 2-8-0 Consolidation.

Near as I can tell Bachmann doesn't seem to be interested in re-releasing this backbone of my intended freight service. I do find them on a somewhat regular basis over on eBay although they tend to go for $150 plus every time they make an appearance. Since I intend to do some major conversion work to make them at least resemble the 2-8-0s from the Colorado and Northwestern I'm a bit unwilling to spend quite that much money on something that might turn out to be a mangled mess.

I guess the plea here is if you have one of these sitting around an gathering dust let me know and we can work something out. It doesn't even need to be in working condition, I would be interested in just the frame and drivers at this point since I would be rebuilding a significant portion of it anyway.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Kickstarter Loot 6 - French Vehicles of WWII by Mad Bob Miniatures in 1:56 (28mm)

Another package arrive on the doorstep and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out what it might be. I had completely forgotten that Mad Bob Miniatures was in the shipping phase for their WWII French vehicle Kickstarter! Since the weekend was, again, devoted to renovation work I didn't get to really look into this box until this morning. One of the things that really had me invest in this particular Kickstarter was that it included some of the German conversions of French armor used by the 21st Panzer Division in Normandy.

For my 3 vehicle reward I picked out the Pak 40 Auf S307(f) which is the Pak 40 AT gun mounted on a French Unix Halftrack. I could have used the SdKfz 251/22 but I like to use the actual vehicles when I can. I decided to get 2 of these.

For my last vehicles I decided to go with the Geschutzwagen 39H(f). This is the French H39 tank converted to carry either the Pak 40 or the 10,5cm Howitzer. I'm still hoping to successfully finish my conversion but this will do in a pinch for the Kampfgruppe Von Luck mini campaign for Chain of Command. I might ask if I can just order the 10,5cm Howitzer for use in that conversion if I decide to go through with it.

I am quite pleased with these vehicles. The details are good but not quite as crisp as the ones from Trenchworx. From a gaming perspective they are great and the price is right as both Trenchworx and Warlord are a bit expensive. Its especially nice that they have a good selection of uncommon vehicles which means you might not have to make that conversion! The vehicles are starting to stack up I really need to pull out the airbrush and start working on some of these!

You should run over to the web site and take a look: MadBobMiniatures

A few pictures to salivate over:

Maybe not the best packing job in the world and either the UK or US postal service crunched one side of the box,

Here is the Pak 40 auf S307(f)  (Somua MCG on the Mad Bob site). This one has a slightly bent gun barrel (the other kit's barrel is nice and straight), hopefully some hot water will straighten it out. Nice clean castings, with no bubbles on the major exterior surfaces and just a few mold lines on the tracks. Should clean up quite nicely.

Here is the Geschutzwagen 39H(f). The howitzer barrel is also slightly bent. Again another very clean casting. There are bubbles in the interior on the tops of the shell storage. Should clean up quite nicely too.

I was just looking over the website again myself and I found the Lorraine Schlepper that I was trying to convert from the Warlord kit. Now I have to decide if I should just order it or continue on with the conversions!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kickstarter Watch 4 - Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit

Here is another interesting Kickstarter that I'm considering getting into; the Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit. Using hexes for terrain has interested me since the days of Geo-Hex, enough that my old gaming group and I figure out away to at least cut the basic hexes out on a radial arm saw with a couple of jigs to get the angles right. Our home made hexes were cut to maximize the quantity of hexes we could get from a 4'x8' piece of homasote (homasote is a fiber board made for soundproofing). I think our hexes measure 9 5/8" across. Later when GHQ came out with their version of hex terrain with 4" hexes I repeated the process with their style and used a band saw to cut the hills into the hexes.

This kickstarter obviously has its roots in the GHQ system. The difference being that this is a jig that will allow you to quickly cut the hexes out of a piece of foam with a hot wire cutter. Additional jigs will align everything so you can cut the various hill, river and edge pieces as well. I'm intrigued to say the least. Its a little pricey but not bad when you go out and price what it would cost to fill a board using GHQ's Terrain Maker hexes. There are also a couple of interesting twists to the process to help keep the hexes from shifting as you move your units across the table.

This system would work well with any scale of miniature and actually provides a lot of versatility in creating a board full of undulating terrain. Just keep in mind that it can take a lot of these little hexes to fill a 6'x4' board!

Kickstarter: Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit

Here are some pictures I pulled from the Kickstarter website:

Hex Maker, the basic pledge.

Hill Maker pledge. You get these jigs plus the Hex Maker jigs

River Maker pledge, You get these jigs plus the Hex and Hill jigs

Cliff Maker pledge, You get these jigs plus the first three sets.

Edge Maker pledge, You get these jigs plus the first four sets.

Base Maker pledge, You get these jigs plus the first five sets.

Pro Maker pledge. You get these jigs plus the first six sets.

Some examples of terrain hexes created with these jigs.

Examples of fully finished boards