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)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

World War II Project - Brigade Games German Infantry III

The is the last of my Germans from the Brigade Games kickstarter. This batch is primarily support weapons; 81mm Mortar and crew, MG42 on Tripod and crew, sniper team and panzerschrecks. I also picked up another set of German NCOs (which I probably don't need) and MG42 teams. The MG42 teams give me the flexibility to use these as either regular infantry or as panzer grenadiers.

The only thing that really came out wrong was the Panzerschreck team came with US heads, but a quick check of the Bazooka bag showed that they had German heads so it worked out in the end. Although quite frankly I have plenty of heads for just about any eventuality.  The only other issue as such were the legs for the mortar which were pretty mangled in the package.

With everything cleaned up I'll get everyone mounted up on painting sticks and they should be ready for priming as soon as the new primers arrive. I'm going to give James Wappel's shaded basecoat a try and see how quickly I can get these guys ready for the table.

Today's work:

German 81mm Mortar and 4 crew

MG42 in Heavy MG role


Sniper Team, no separate heads for this team!

The whole lot
From left to right: NCOs, Panzerschrecks, Mortar Team, Sniper Team, MG42 Team and the LMG teams

Friday, October 27, 2017

AWI Project - Basing a First Look

With a few painted AWI Continentals under my belt I felt like it was time to see if the base sizes I had figured out were really going to work or not. Since my current idea is to use Regimental Fire and Fury I wanted to use the base sizes from those rules for the AWI. That means converting the base sizes from 15mm to 28mm. I put it all in a spreadsheet and let it do the calculations. What I arrived at was a base with a frontage of 40mm and a depth of 30mm (which were rounded up from the actual calculated number to get to a base size that would be commercially available, in this case from Litko). Since I fully intend to provide both sides of the conflict I decided that these seemed like a reasonable size for the infantry bases.

Now the moment of truth. Here are the Perry plastic AWI miniatures on the 40x30 bases. Its pretty tight but certainly workable, although there will not be a lot of room for the "diorama" style basing that seems to be so popular these days. It does, however, suggest a pretty good massed formation and I'm happy with that.

Five bases ready for some miniatures

Not a whole lot of wiggle room there, but I think there is enough to make sure that everything can square up against bases on either side.
Two stands ready to move out. I'm liking the look here.

And a look with a command base taking up the center position. I have a couple of other ideas for this so I'm not sure this will be the final look for a command base or not.
Now confident that the Perry Miniatures would look pretty good on these bases I pulled out some Fife and Drum miniatures to see how those would look.

The slightly smaller Fife and Drum miniatures are going to look just fine on these bases.
There are a number of markers that are used in the FnF rules. Here's a look at the base size I'll be using for those. They should stand out nicely on the table without over powering everything around them.
The stand for a Exceptional Brigade Commander

An out of ammo marker.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ReaperCon 2017 - Whirlwind Tour

ReaperCon did actually happen this year contrary to my lack of posting about it. We were all set to go when our petsitter flacked out on us which set a quite a problem for us. Hobbes is the oldest of the four dogs, a Great Pyrenees that is pushing 13 years old. His hips are shot and I would not even consider putting him a kennel at this point let alone trying to transport him. Its hard to lift a dog that size into the back of a Jeep. So that pretty much nixed driving done to the convention the way we had planned.

It would be hard to completely skip ReaperCon. I handle the vendors, help with the judging and, of course, run the auction. My wife suggested that we just go down for Sunday, so that's what we did. We left Denver on 6am flight on Sunday morning and came back home on a 10pm flight Sunday evening. 

Uneventful flights, always good. Took a Lyft ride from DFW to Lewisville, not so good, the driver managed to get lost even with GPS mapping. She managed to leave via the south entrance to DFW rather than the north entrance and doubled the travel distance. We did manage to arrive safely though. I checked in with my vendors all of whom had a great show, that's always good to hear. Just about everyone wants to come back for next year so I'm going to start off with a pretty full vendor area right off the bat for 2018. And yes I do think that far ahead for conventions.

The auction was great, it is still my favorite auction to do. The hall remained full till just about the end of the auction and the audience was great. There was a ton of stuff donated by Reaper from Bone 3 including some items that are were still in the fullfillment bags, because there is not yet retail packaging for them, Badger gave donated a bunch of airbrushes, primer sets and starter paint sets that had the crowd drooling. All in all a great auction and a great day at ReaperCon. While I made an effort to track down everyone I know, I missed a bunch of regulars anyway. It was good to at least attend for a single day.

By the time I got there most of the contest entries were gone and I didn't bother taking any shots of the hall, although the configuration was a lot different this time. Fortunately some of the best ones were by instructors and then tend to 

Michael Proctor
Third in Best in Show

Michael Proctor

Derek Schubert. This is an old one but it really pulls off the whole underwater effect quite nicely.

Brice Cocanour
Sophie Gold in Dioramas

David Diamondstone
 I love the effect of the slanted floor, nicely done. 

Sophie Bronze in Painters

I really do love these flats, this is built up from scratch. Noel Meyer

Jessica Rich, this one is quite different from what she has been entering over the past few years

Erin Hartwell, another mirror piece, her freehand is really stepping up.

Monday, October 23, 2017

World War II Project - Brigade Games German Infantry II

I managed to get to the rest of the basic German Infantry Platoon. Out of the box, as it were, this is just a standard Wehrmacht infantry platoon with 1 MG42 per squad, three squads and a small platoon HQ group.

I finished the G001 Platoon HQ, which seems to have an odd compostion; an officer, an NCO, an MG42 team and an extra rifleman to use as a runner. The other bag was G002 NCOs, all six of these are at least slightly different and armed with SMGs.

German NCOs

German Infantry HQ section with MG42

First Squad, using the MG42 from the HQ section. Although now that I look at it, the deployed MG42 is probably a better choice here.

Second Squad

Third Squad

HQ section

The basic platoon ready to be based. Just need some extra weapons for attachments but these are read for some primer and paint.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

World War II Project - Brigade Games German Infantry

There was a little time to get some work done last night, after we cleared up the back porch from all the debris of fall. We were fortunate in that the one plant that Phoebe likes to chew on is the one plant that we have to cut down in the fall. She has taken care of most of that work for us!

I gave my wife some airbrush lessons and while she was busy painting things black and getting used to the dual action controls I pulled out the WWII miniatures that I received from the Brigade Games Kickstarter. I haven't really had a chance to look at these since I got them. Since my wife is learning how to use the airbrush what better excuse to prep some minis so that she has something to practice on. I pulled out the platoon bag of Germans and managed to prep G003, G004 (x2) and G005. From the website that would be the MG42 teams (three teams of two), Riflemen advancing (two packs of six in this case) and Riflemen Firing. A total of 24 figures, I still have the bag of NCOs and Platoon HQ to go.

Overall I am please with these minis. The sculpting has a rougher style than I'm used to seeing but I think they will look really good when they are painted up. For bagginess of the clothing combined with the rough sculpting style remind of the old Willie & Joe cartoons by Bill Mauldin. Ostensibly these are 1/56th scale minis, so at some point I'll do a comparison with the plastic ones from Warlord Games.

I'm going to try something completely different from my normal style on these. James Wappel uses a technique he refers to as the shaded basecoat and then finishes off the minis with a series of washes and glazes. James uses Badger's Stynlrez primers to create the shaded basecoat and I'm eager to give it a try. I would like to get these ready for the table as quickly as I can.

So here we have a first look at the Brigade Games WWII German miniatures:
G004 Riflemen advancing.
The heads are separate so you can change the look. I think the faces could have been better sculpted and I'm less than thrilled with a vent coming right out the chin.

And with the heads attached. I had eight heads in the bag so I will be accumulating a few extra as I go through the process. You should definitely test fit the head to the torso before you glue. I trimmed most of the "necks" shorter to get a good fit, the depth of the hole in the torso is not the same across the board so how much you have to trim off varies a lot. There are also a couple of heads with very wide "necks" and there are only a couple of minis those fit with.

The second set of G004

G005 Riflemen Firing
I feel that some of the firing poses are a little awkward. They do look better with the heads attached though.

And now with heads! Again there were spare heads which allows you to change the look a bit.

G006 MG42 Teams
I'm not thrilled with the look of the MG42 itself but I really like the poses of the standing minis. The ammunition carrier is really weighed down with equipment and spare ammunition. You three variations here, deployed and firing, walking and running.

And now complete with heads

I had the Warlord Games PzKfw IV sitting nearby so I grabbed that for a quick comparison shot. I think the BG minis look pretty good against it.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The C&NW RR Project - Motive Power - Bachmann Shay

This one was a surprise, I was digging through the workroom and uncovered this Bachmann Shay. I don't even remember picking it up, I imagine it must have been a pretty good deal for me to have forgotten it.

It looks complete, I have no idea if it runs though so I should set up a little test track someplace to break in all these locomotives that keep finding their way into the house. I will continue on with the conversion of the MDC kit which represents a Class B Shay though. I  like the beefier boiler that it will have and the C&N Shay was a Class B. I might not even have to try and switch out the domes, but the stack will definitely have to go on the MDC kit.

One thing this does bring up though is that the wheels on the MDC kit are definitely to small. I'm wondering if I could purchase the Bachmann wheel sets and mate them to the MDC kit. Will  have to mull that one over a bit.

This is a class A Shay, two cylinders with two trucks

A view of the offset boiler. Things appear to be a bit crooked on the frame, so it will have to be taken apart to fix this I imagine.

Some of the loose parts and optional parts that were in the box.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The C&NW RR Project - Acquisitions Motive Power - MDC Shay

One of the eccentricities of the C&NW was that it was also running a Shay (#25, 2 truck class B) as well because of the large amount of ore that shipped out over the line. There are not a lot of options available in On30 for this so I'm going to try my hand at taking the old MDC Shay kit and converting it to On30. The MDC Kit represents a Class B Shay, two trucks and three cylinders.

I found a kit for a reasonable price and it arrived over the weekend. For now I just inventoried the parts and I'll be trying to acquire some of the Northwest gear sets that were made for this kit and are out of production. The upgraded gears will probably end up costing as much as the kit cost me!

The obvious changes that must be made are replacing the cab and the coal bunker. I'll probably need to switch out the domes as well. The running boards will also need to be widened. Should be an interesting project.