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, 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

Monday, November 7, 2016

ReaperCon 2016 - Day 4

Things certainly start to slow down on Sunday. There are still classes to take, games to play and stuff to buy in the vendor area. In general the vendors here don't do a lot of Sunday mark downs so there aren't a lot of deals to be had. This keeps everyone's sales at a pretty steady pace through the whole con. In fact Thursday was one of the best days for the smaller vendors as people rushed to those vendors whose stock was very limited like Tabletop Plus.

Of course the show really ends with my auction. It  remains one of my favorite auctions to do since the reality is everything is free as you can only use the ReaperBucks to buy things at the auction. ReaperBucks are awarded for games, classes, wearing Reaper Con T-Shirts and costumes. You even start with 500 Reaper Bucks in your SWAG bag!

Since I'm auctioning, I don't really have time for pictures, so there is only two sad pictures from Sunday. (Wisely no one takes pictures of me doing the auction).

Where previously there were over 500 entries, the tables are looking pretty bare. You had to pick up your entries before the auction started or the MSP Open Crew got to keep it!

And a few brave souls still looking for cool stuff on the metal trade table.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

ReaperCon 2016 - Day 3

Saturday looms large. People are taking painting classes, playing games and the Saturday only badges are getting their entries into the MSP Open. Its another day of judging as well. The Saturday entries are judged for the Open competition and all the judging for the special and manufacturer awards is being done. Things can get a little tense with the Open crew. But another excellent job was done at the end and everything was finished before the awards were announced.

But first dinner! Tonight its American Cuisine what ever that is suppose to mean. Quite frankly I was to excited about the awards ceremony and helping the Open crew that I don't really remember what I ate. I'm sure it was delicious though I distinctly remember going back for a second piece of cake.

Anne Forester announced the awards and we made it through the whole list in good time. 
Here are a few stats to go along with all of that:
# of entries = 532 (512 in 2015)
# of entrants = 174 (155 in 2015)

25 Certificate of Merit
123 Bronze
76 Silver
55 Gold
There were also a host of special and manufacturer awards. Michael Proctor picked up the Best in Show award for his diorama, Marike Reimer picked up Non-Reaper Best in show for her diorama. And Jessica Rich won Reaper Best in Show.

Michael Proctor, Best in Show
Don't be Sad

Jessica Rich, Reaper Best in Show
Lethe, Keeper of the Dead
(I had to borrow this photo from the Reapercon.con page as I managed to miss this one)

Marike Reimer, Non-Reaper Best in Show

Now on to the few pictures of the event:
Ron Hawkins giving out raffle prizes

The Reaper Hall of Fame crew gets to eat first, sculptor Bobby Jackson leads the charge

Chow Down! 

Restlessness before the announcements, there are still folks at the metal trade table.

The Reaper booth remains busy and the MSP Open is temporarily close except for a lone blogger; Lynn Stahl. After the awards this area will be the busiest spot in the building as people come over to get their actual scores and talk with the judges.

Friday, November 4, 2016

ReaperCon 2016 - Day 2

On Friday all my dealers finally managed to straggle in and I had a full set. So full that I actually had an orphan dealer that I setup behind the rest of the vendors. Don't worry he was in a hallway leading to half the classrooms and he did very well. Well enough that he want's a double booth for next year.

The dinner for this evening was Mexican and it was quite good. I didn't take many pictures except of the entries. Friday is definitely a busy day as my vendors are in place and my assistant director duties are heating up.

Tensions are starting to run a little high in the MSP Open. I spent most of my day helping the MSP Open crew receive and photograph entries (You can see the full gallery of the entries at 2016 Gallery). I took a couple of breaks to walk through the competition area and take some pictures of my favorite entries (of course I didn't grab most of the names, I'll have to add them later as time permits):

Nathan Doyle

This lion was my favorite entry. I love the way its mounted.

Tom Williams, Best Weathering from Secret Weapon Miniatures

Marike Reimer - Non Reaper Best in Show

Derek Schubert, Sculptor and Painter
Bobby Jackson

Michael Proctor, Best in Show

Add caption

Doug Cohen

Doug Cohen

Justin McCoy

Michelle Blastenbrei

Michael Proctor

Michael Proctor

Erin Hartwell - Tiefling Bust