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)

Monday, July 30, 2018

ReaperCon Projects - Small Steps

With all the stuff going on with the renovation I'm finding it difficult to get any serious painting time in on these projects. I may be reduced to a single ordnance entry, although I will try to get at least a single painter entry done. Will see how it goes. Here is an update on the progress (or lack there of):

Getting a few decals on is all I managed to accomplish. And they are going to need more work. There are two brands of decals here. The name "Hawkeye" is from a set made by I-94 for 20mm. Those are great decals. The stars are from Company B, and I'm not pleased with those at all. I give them another treatment and see if I can get rid of the silvering but I'm not confident. I may swipe some Rubicon decals from the Jeep kits and get rid of these.

Monday, July 23, 2018


We needed a break from everything that was going on so off we went to the Shakespeare Festival at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

We saw a production of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater. Its a beautiful area originally built in 1938. The Festival is now in its 61st year. The production was fantastic and we had a great time. A wonderful way to break up a hectic week of work.

The sun was still shining as we got to our seats, although there were thunderstorms to the south of us.

Intermission time and a look at the set in after the sun has gone down. There was a pretty brilliant half moon visible through most of the performance.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Kickstarter Loot - Mantic Terrain Crate - The Battlefield Crate

Here is the last of the crates I picked out for my three crate deal; the Battlefield Crate. This is definitely more along the scenery line with fences and hedges rather than a bunch of craters and trenches (although those would have been good too). I picked this one simply to get my hands on the stone fences. I like the looks so much I picked up another box of fences with one of my two add-ons.
While I didn't really like the overall composition of the contents after opening it up I can see that some of it is going to be more useful than I expected.

A quick look at the Battlefield Crate;
Again, the box is identical to the others with the exception of the tag

Table of "Contents"

The classic ziplock bag shot

The Tents; there are three bags of tents. From my perspective the large tent is particularly useless but the rest of this should work out quite nicely for calamity.

Scatter; one bag of scatter I would have liked two. One the other hand I believe this gives me three bags of scatter total so Calamity will not lack for obstacles for gun fights.

The Wagson; one bag of this. Again the wagon itself is pretty useless and the horse is a bit small but the rest of it is quite useful.

The Wood Fences; two bags of this and I certainly could have used a third. Unfortunately there are only three sections of wood fence which makes this set a little small to be truly useful. The hedge is a nice addition, but I have no need of the large three stake section. The signpost could be quite useful too.

The Stone Fences; three bags of this. With enough walls to make at least a square area I think this one is  a great value. More appropriate for my Normandy battlefields than for Calamity though. My British and American Paras will be glad to have some very solid cover.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kickstarter Loot - Mantic Terrain Crate - Dungeon Crate

This morning I'm showing off the Dungeon Crate, the second of the three Mantic Terrain Crates I selected from their Kickstarter. While the Town Crate was a pretty easy pick for me I really didn't decide on the Dungeon Crate until the end. What really got my attention was the abandoned mine stuff. One package was not really worth the effort but when it shot up to including three packs at the end it made the Dungeon Crate an easy selection.

One of the typical complaints in the Kickstarter comments was the amount of redundant packs that were included in each crate. I found that to be one of the nicer features. I was far more interested in quantity of some of the stuff rather than variety, the abandoned mine equipment and the scatter terrain being a good cases in point.

Here is the Dungeon Crate
Same box as the Town Crate, complete with cardboard dividers, just with a different label

The contents sheet printed front and back

Yet another pile of ziplock bags filled with terrain goodness

The Treasury, there are two packs of this. the only piece of real interest to me is the pile of trunks on the left. That could probably be used in and around Calamity's railroad station.

This pile of armor and shields is pretty neat.

The trunks, they lack little piles of gold around them so that makes them much more useful. The amount of rolled and unrolled parchment might require a bit of work, although likely no one would notice during a game.

The Library, is the same one that appear in the Town crate. I have lots of shelves and desks now!

The Scatter, a really nice assortment of scatter, the crates, barrals and logs make this very useful in Calamity. There are two packs of scatter.

Wizard's Study, only one pack of this. The shelf is a duplicate from the library set and probably the most useful pieces from my point of view are the mirror and the chair.

Abandoned Mine; three pieces of this and everything, even the big crystal, is pretty usable. I just wish there was more track.

Close ups

Trips, one pack of these and probably the least useful pack out of the whole set for me.
I suspect that the mine equipment will be first on my list to paint. I can envision a lot of rusty equipment occupying the mines below Calamity. One of the two add-ons I purchased was another set of the abandoned mine equipment which came with two more packs. that gives me a total of five to work with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kickstarter Loot - Mantic Terrain Crate - The Town Crate

I did jump in at the last minute on the Mantic Terrain Crate Kickstarter, with a little trepidation. However, I have to say that I'm quite pleased with this one. Its just about a month late which in Kickstarter terms is practically early!

I opted for Town Crate, the Dungeon Crate and the Battlefield Crate along with some extra Abandoned Mine and Walls components. Today we will take a look at the very full box that is the Town Crate. I picked this one out mostly for use in Calamity. As stretch goals were unlocked more stuff was added to these crates, typically just duplicates of stuff that was already included but I was okay with that, although there were definitely some protests over this in the comments section.

Here is what came in the Town Crate:

It was nice that a set of dividers were included, that will help to keep things separated

A sheet, printed front and back with the contents

Lots of plastic bags

The Library, two of these were included in the box. That's probably way to many books for Calamity but the desk is very nice and could be used just about anywhere.

The Bar, three of these sets were included. Most of it appears to be pretty useful for Calamity

The Tables, two of these sets were included. I'll probably ditch the fire braziers and the high back chairs, but i think I can use the rest. More stools would have been welcome.

The Blacksmith Shop, just one of these but I think I can use almost every piece in Calamity. The water pump appears to be a pretty modern design.

The Cart, just one of these was included as well. I like the scatter terrain. The cart is to wide but the horse isn't bad, maybe a little small

The Armory, there are three sets of this. The only things I will be using are the cot and the m unrolled parchment

The Throne Room, only one of these was included (thank goodness). There are two mirrors which might be useful and one of the chairs is good, the other one will need some modification to work. The rug is huge and I probably won't use it, I'm undecided on the tapestry,
Overall I'm very pleased with the quality. This is some type of soft PVC plastic I think based on how some items are bent and how it feels. I should be able to prime with my standard Vallejo and Badger primers without a problem. There are no reports on the Reaper forum about bad primers but pretty much everyone there is sticky to primers they know will work on Bones and not taking any chances. I think this is one of my better Kickstarter purchases.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sanborn Insurance Maps

Key for interpreting Sanborn fire insurance maps

I ran across some exciting information from the Library of Congress regarding Sanborn Insurance maps. These are a wonderful resource for model railroaders and indeed any interesting in seeing how their town developed over time. The library is indicating that they will have approximately 500,000 maps online by 2020. More maps will be added each month.

Library of Congress Announcement 

They currently have about 12,000 maps online from the original incarnation of this project which stalled over a disagreement with the company that now owns the Sanborn maps over what constituted public domain. Since they will be uploading maps into the 1960s it sounds like some kind of agreement can be reached. Many state and local libraries have copies or even originals of these maps in their map rooms and even available online although availability can be very limited. For instance the University of Colorado has many Colorado maps available online to anyone that can navigate their site (which quite frankly is awful). Whereas the City of Los Angeles Library (not the LA County library) will only let you view them in person without a library card. Online access requires a library card. The University of Berkeley apparently has a complete collection of Sanborn maps for California but it only seems to be available to faculty and students online.

One thing to keep in mind is there is not a map for every town in the US. For instance I couldn't find maps for Ward or Eldora in Boulder County, they were just not worth the effort by Sanborn to map out. But you can find interesting places like Deadwood SD!

Here is a link to the map section of the Library of Congress:

Library of Congress Map Section

Its definitely worth perusing, there is a lot of fascinating sections that can be used by both railroaders and wargamers.

Here is the direct link to the Sanborn collection as it exists today. Hopefully we will see the number of documents start to scroll up

Library of Congress Sanborn Insurance Maps