Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Meanwhile, Back On Base....

 The reorg is well underway.

Black Watch on the right of the line as senior regiment (It was in the late 90's that I made the masters,  heavily converted for the F&IW in the late 90's, from a selection of Meisterzinn Napoleonic French bodies and muskets with LOTS of putty and with original heads, the first I had sculpted. ) Converted again for the French Revolution just before Covid hit.

The De Brouiller regiment we have seen (Meisterzinn bodies, my heads) but the sergeant with the colours was just painted today. 

These two battalions are on 6 figure "company" bases, 3 to a battalion ala Charge!. The Marines are on 4 man company bases. I was going to put them on 3 man bases and allow them to form up or deploy as skirmishers but I decided that the game will flow better if I put all the light troops on 4 man bases for easy recognition for new players. They can then count as infantry if formed up with bases touching or as light infantry if spread out. 

I've decided to go with the West Indies and Eguptian games, there is slightly more overlap of terrain and figures and something new for me. (well, new in 40mm anyway).

The exisring French and Turks are next then its back to painting more Turks, French, Royal Navy landing party and boat crews, as well as ex-slave guerillas. 3 months to go!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Next Step

This whole French Revolution Revival, (My largest collection was 15mm Fr. Rev, now long gone.) began at the start of the century when I saw Rob Dean's homecast Scarlet Pimpernal collection based on converted Meisterzinn homecastings. My efforts kept getting put aside until they went into limbo, only to revive just before Covid hit and the border closed.......sighhhh.... but I persevered. Since Rob's figures were all singly based, I did the same but the larger my collection got, the more I remembered why I dislike single based arnies, even if movement trays are available. 

A formation of 3 troops of Mamlukes. I'm very pleased that the new recruits, painted with the new paints,  have fitted in seemlessly with the ones I painted last year.
Its more about the painter's style than the paints.)

Recently Rob decided to shut down his project and is arranging to have a mutual friend pass Rob's collection to me at Huzzah in May. (To help with storage on my end, I'm going to send back all of my Not Quite the Seven Years War Prince August units  to be donated to the HAWKS to use or gift as they like, keeping only figures suitable for the Quebec, Acadian and Louisbourg  campaigns). Yesterday I realized that this change in plans means that I don't have to stick with several hundred single figure armies but can go back to multifigure bases and the latest descendant of Hearts of Tin (nee  Morschauser Meets MacDuff  c2003-ish) on permanent (sic) bases rather than movement trays, thus not only speeding up gameplay but also reducing the shelf or travel space by 1/3. 

To make it easier to track hits, I'm adding little patches of long grass that will hold a small die.

Of course, this also means I need to add 2 figures to each of my infantry battalions......... 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Testing Testing 1,2,3

When I bought the set of Artecho paints, I didn't know anything about them except that they were acryllic and came in the same little soft plastic bottles as most cheap 'craft' acrylic paints but had the same colour names as artists oils and my old Liquitex acryllic paints which used to come in tubes. 

There's only one way to find out more really, and that would be by trying them. Imagine my surprise when I flipped open the lid and tried to put a dab on my palette and...nothing came out. Ah, must have a seal I thought and removed the lid. No seal, just nice thick acryllic paint, just like my old Liquitex in the tubes! 

Oh yeah, that got me excited, would they work like my old art paints? Would I need to relearn habits and techniques after having used the thin hobby paints for decades?   

1st hasty testing of the Artecho acryllic paints on metal.

Yup! But I enjoyed every minute of using them. I wanted to keep the painting quick and simple so stopped myself from getting into "model" mode, kept the lacing and trim to a minimum  and stuck to a simple painting with just a bit of shading so that they would blend in with my existing Mamlukes/Turks. I was also in a hurry to see them finished and painted them in a couple of short sessions today. 

It'll take a while to adjust my techiques and to relearn how to get the most out of the paint when blending colours, when shading (these guy could use a bit more), thinning it for washes, etc., but it was the most enjoyable painting session I've had in a long while. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

First Batch

These days my patience gets inpatient when I convert and/or paint more than a few figures at a time so I'm going to do the Mamlukes in 3's or maybe in 4's depending on what unit size I settle on. (4 or 6)

Anyway, the first batch of recuits have been hastily converted and are ready for priming and painting.

1 w carbine, 1 blunderboss, 1 sabre.
(All Prince August, 2 Cowboys, 1 SYW Hussar)

I think 24 Mamlukes would be a good goal though18 (3x6) or 20 (5x4) would probably do. These three will bring my total to 9......... still some work to do then.


Sunday, January 22, 2023

New Recruits Muster for Inspection.

 "Have Mercy! They want me to make Mamukes from this lot?"

"You have done it before Master"

"So be it! Let us begin.

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Usual Planning Committee Has Voted.

Well, on this snowy afternoon, me, myself and I have been discussing what work needs to be done for each of the three proposed games for Huzzah, reviewing resources and existing figure availability, figuring out how many players could be handled. (between 1 and 6 with 4 being most desirable and 8 possible at a pinch in the unlikely situation where more than 6 want to play which has happened a couple of times as well as at least one "nobody" game), reviewing the test games, which rules were used in each playtest and live game, and finally how each game worked.  (pheww!...run on sentence or what?

The result of all that is that I've decided to make a couple of small but important changes to my plan. 

The first go at the Frogs and Lobsters and Owls scenario,

My first conclusion was that the two amphibious raid games are too close in nature despite the different locales. The second was that with 3 months in which to prepare, right now, I'd rather work on building up my Turks who have many potential uses, are very colourful and need a lot of conversion (an old favourite part of my hobby), than to add a few more Caribbean guerillas and jungle terrain for a variation of another "British landing party hooks up with rebels" scenario. 

The original, small, Caribbean scenario.

A separate solo meeting was held on which rules to use. My instinct was to go with the updated MacDuff rules, which were written for this sort of games, however, between test games, both solo and with players, and past convention games, they just take too long for a convention game if the scenario  has any depth or complexity at all. 

When I did a solo game to blood my Turks, I ended up resorting to a cross between the then current draft of 'Whiff of Dice' and my old 'Hearts of Tin' rules. The resulting updated "Whiff of Dice" has worked well every time I've played them and play fast enough and decisively enough to fit the convention schedule. So that is now officially "Selected"!

The first, small, outing for my Turks,

Now to review what Turks are needed, review my choice of moulds for conversion fodder, pick a warmish day (calf deep snow today but big melt fore cast for a few days), fire up my melting pot, cast away, convert, convert, paint, paint, paint, make some fortifications, try to recruit some friends to playtest the scenario and then "Let the convention commence!".

Monday, January 16, 2023

Huzzah! For The Marines!

After 3 years of missed gaming conventions due to COVID and border restrictions, this May, the (not yet Royal) Marines and I are going to Britanny, the West Indies and....... to Portland, Maine, for Huzzah! 

At last, 2x8 companies of 1790's Marines ready to go.

I plan to register 2 games when it opens. Both will be set during the French Revolution, using the current two sides of a page version of  "A Whiff of Dice"   (was going to be "With MacDuff to the Frontier" but if often takes too long to play to a finish in a multi-player game at a convention).

One will be the twice tested raid on the coast of Brittany:

A play test last August with real live, in person, friends: (see blogpost

The other will be a slightly larger, more complicated, multi-player, version of the solo West Indies game I played in July.

July's Solo game

Well, I have WORK to do! 


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

If You Go Down To The Woods Today....

 All done. The rest of the 'work' went easier once things like  colour schemes and techniques were settled on and rusty 'how to' techniques started to come back. 

Close up: There's a few things about the wolf that aren't quite right but since he's being ridden by, well, an orc..., officially, just about anything goes.

Now I need to figure out stats: how fast? How effective? etc etc.

The whole gang.

Once the rules, stats, etc are worked out, it'll be time to see how they fight, and how lucky their leader is! The forecast for Friday and Saturday incudes a high probability for rain and/or snow, so perfect gaming weather, this time if year,

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Three Done

I decided that, after years of quick painting on simple castings, painting all nine (10 including wolf)  as one lot was in danger of stalling now that the base colours were on, so I decided to break them down into 3 groups of 3 for the finishing work.  

The archers came first: (Pictures are life size on my Chromebook. These 40mm figures are 3d printed, sold by Day of Battles.)

From the front: 

And the back:

The swordsmen, who may or may not be given either a javelin or a buckler, will be 2nd (hopefully appearing Tuesday night) and the command group, including the Kreacher look alike on Thursday night. 

Then I'll need to come up with a scenario and back story.

Back To Basics

I had expected to finish these lads today but I had over estimated my current endurance and under estimated the number of duty interruptions. Still, I made some significant progress, including suddenly realizing how rusty I was at various things and getting frustrated with the state of my motley paint collection, largely due to lack of local availability. 

I also managed to achieve my primary target for today: figuring out what 'swarthy' was going to look like on these figures and how to achieve that in an easily recreated manner. 

Not done yet, but starting to come together and I'm getting a feel for what I want them to look like, and how they are going to fit in.

My first efforts this morning were a dismal failure. Several figures had roughly the right shade and I could live with the variety but most of them needed touch ups and I just, could not, replicate it. Didn't help that  I had been playing about yesterday with various mixes, adlibbing and adjusting as I went and trusting to memory to recall which 3 or 4 colours were used in what proportions....AIGHHHNNN not anymore!  and anyway, I still wasn't really sure what I wanted. 

But, after a break for lunch and some thinking about colours, what I do and don't want them to look like (greenish khaki being out!) and so on, I decided to keep it simple and choose a base colour, straight out of the bottle, and a heavy wash to shade it and modify the colour slightly. It didn't take too many trials to decided on a Raw Sienna base with a wash of Burnt Umber. So that's settled.

However, I also decided that I'd had enough of my current motley collection of mostly cheap paints which had been the only option available within 75km since the local art supply shop closed down more than a decade ago. So, I broke down and ordered a set of 24 Artecho paints, largely in traditional colours (eg Raw Sienna, Phthalo Blue, etc etc). I don't know the company so whether or not the paints are any good remains to be seen, but I'll be surprised if they aren't as good as the better of my veteran paints and will be deeply disappointed if they aren't better then the bulk of the various cheap ones.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

A Start

 It was a quiet day here and I decided to get a start on my 40mm not-orcs. 

So far, I've filed the bottoms of their feet so they will stand, glued them to washers, added some putty vegetation to reinforce their adhesion to those bases, undercoated in a 'yellow brown' and  begun experimenting with colours, something similar but not uniform, and suitable for lurking in woods. 

They are well sculpted with detail which would have been a delight to a younger me with sharper eyes and steadier hand, and which still is appreciated now. 

The Day of Battle webpage described this set as LOTR Orcs so while I will not be sending Prince Micheal to Middle Earth, I may well use a very similar name for these lads. Tolkien described his Orcs as "swarthy" and so I'm going to come up with something that looks "swarthy-ish' to me. 

I'm still in experimental mode, mixing colours and trying to decide on suitable clothing colours etc., but a number of my current favourite paints are at, or near empty while some of the replacements for old favourites are garbage. Since I can no longer get suitable paints for my needs nearby, I've had to start looking at what I can get on line that will serve my needs and budget. Even as recent as 10 years ago, $20 would be a lavish annual expediture on paint but I can see that won't do it now, even for craft acryllics, but basically I need a selection of basic artist colours so that I can mix the rest.   


Monday, January 2, 2023

And Now, Our Plan for Twenty..Psst...What? ....We don't have a plan?

 Happy 2023! May the coming year be as good a year as possible for as many of us as possible. 

I'm not yet ready to write up the generic scenario that I've been trying out, but the 1790's West Indies version was another cracker of a game. It also came down to the last turn after various turns of fortunes, but this time it was the 'Blue army' that won a victory on the first 1/2 of the last turn, breaking Red's morale before they could launch a desperate counter attack.

Oh dear! Looks like horrific carnage. Since 'hits' are supposed to reflect fear, fatigue, ammo shortages etc etc, not just dead and wounded, I think I might go back to tracking hits on the small dice I bought for the purpose rather knocking guys over.

One of the things I noticed after the first game was the foot of table next to the wall was completely unused while the other side was over cramped. So, today being a day for new starts, I essentially shifted the terrain one square over. Since I like multi-period scenarios, I intend to give Prince Micheal's men a go at holding the line. 

As long as I'm not being very historical, I might just wait until I get my Christmas present to myself painted up and ready to join their barbarian allies.

Day of Battle 40mm printed Orcs

Oh dear, it is a slippery slope isn't it?