Saturday, November 26, 2022

Some 15mm Progress for 1958 World WW III

Over the last few days, I've gotten back into the swing of things, completing some of the QRF 15mm Cold War vehicles that I received a few weeks back.  Paint jobs are basic solid green, grey tracks and some dirt and dust, but they are table ready.

The models are cleanly cast, and fit together nicely.  They have a rather clean look, but at the same time are nicely detailed.  Here are a few pics:

British Conqueror heavy tanks

Soviet T-10 heavy tanks.

Soviet BRDM-1 recce cars.

The BRDM1s, are cleanly cast and easy to assemble with nice detailing, though I am a little suspect at the proportions.   I haven't checked the dimensions, but they look a little stretched in length to me.  One of the machineguns was damaged during shipping and was unusable, another has vanished somewhere on my basement floor, so only the platoon leader has the external machinegun mounted.  

I also painted a single Bedford RL truck.  The cab took a little extra clean-up, but is not bad by any means, the window pillars just need to be positioned just right, and mine were bent a little from transit.   Again, I think it makes for a rather nice model. Unfortunately, the individual pic was blurry, so here it is in a group shot with all of the models from this batch.

I probably can use Bedford trucks more than heavy tanks, but I just couldn't resist the lure of the heavies.   

After nearly five months , I can finally check something off the to-do list.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

With the Change of Seasons...

 ... my four month long, 400 hour house painting expedition is done, at least for this year.  I now find myself  struggling to get back into the swing of the hobby.  Time is still short with the holidays in close pursuit and a seemingy endless list of long neglected tasks at hand (put off by the painting expedition), but there are windows of opportunity.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've managed to put a little paint on a number of 15mm Cold War vehicles, and while the paint is flowing, the process is not.  I just can't seem to get into a rhythm.  Applying a single color sceme with a little dust has been more like giving one's self a root canal.

It's strange in that I have a ton of enthusiam and am bursting with ideas for things to build, figures to paint, and games to play, but have exhibitied the attention span of a two year old thus far.  I'm hoping that the upcoming holiday weekend will help settle me down, allow me to take a tick mark off of my to-do list, and with any luck, play my first game since February.

Stay well out there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Grey Guys Never Won

When I was a kid and my miniatures were plastic army men, there were green army men, Americans, and there were grey army men, Nazis.  In all the battles over all of the years that I played with them as a child, the grey army men never won.  Not one single battle.  

They were almost always outnumbered, except maybe in those first few months after receiving the Marx Battleground playset.  Not too long after Christmas that year, I started adding to my toy soldiers, and the Germans almost never got anything.  So as time went on, they became more and more outnumbered.

A a kid, I never saw any plastic army men representing other countries, there were a few diecast toys, like the Saladin armored car that fought with my American forces, but no British troops, no Russians, No Japanese, etc.

The Americans benefitted from the advance of technology also.  Their first tanks were M26s, later receiving M48s ; they also got things like a CH53, and lots of troops with M16 rifles.  The Germans never advanced past the Panther, their additions being restricted to the technology of the war years.  In time they received a Sdkfz7, and a single Panzer IV, but not much else.

All things considered, the grey guys never had a chance.  They fought hard, but still, never had a chance.  

Surprisingly, I never considered any of this before.

Now, sometimes the Germans win, and given that I've played a lot of 1940 battles, they've often won. They also never had to face M48s with their Panthers, and American infantry don't benefit from M16s (well, not until Vietnam anyway).

These days, I suspect that I'd get bored with the green guy always winning, but I do miss other aspects of the simplicity of the old days.  Just buy the stuff and play, consumer wargaming at its best.  No assembly, no painting required (though I did tend to paint them).  Scale not overly important (within reason), no research, no historical maps, no pulling teeth and jumping through hoops for historical accuracy or realism.

It was a lot of fun without too much work.  In reflection, I wonder if I've lost my way to some extent.  The grey guys probably wouldn't think so.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Cold War Help from QRF

I received an order from QRF with some 15mm odds and ends primarily for the British and Soviets in 1958.  

First, the cool stuff; for the Brits, a platoon of Conqueror heavy tanks, and for the Soviets, a couple platoons of T10s.  

There is also, a platoon of Soviet BRDM1 scout cars and a couple of Bedford RL trucks for the British.

My first 15mm 1958 games will likely center around a small group of British infantry that were overrun in my 6mm WWIII battles back in February.  My current thinking is to run a sort of mini-campaign of scenarios as they try to make their way back to friendly forces in the the early days of WWIII, 1958.  More on that later.

I originally intended to place an order for a bunch of French VABs back in March, right around the time that QRF had stopped taking orders.  So when they added their post war lines back to the catolog,  I added a few a few more things and placed my order.  The ordering process went smoothly with shipping time being a touch over three weeks. 

I ordered ten of the VABs to fill out a French infantry company (adding them to what I already had).  Here's a pic of one of them right out of the bag.

The VBLs may end up on the shelf for a while, but I hope to have the other stuff done by the end of November.  I 'm not gaming yet, but it can't hurt to add to the lead (/resin/plastic) mountain.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Looking to the Future

During my last couple of months away from the hobby, I had time to consider the scope of periods and projects that I've entered into, the effects of aging, and my own mortality.  I've realized for some time that some of my aspirations (and very possibly a majority) for the table top are never going to be realized, but I've had a horrible time trying to reduce projects and periods that I've already planned or started, as the balance between enthusiasm and work to be done doesn't correspond to any logical reduction of projects or periods.

For example, 28mm post apocalypse is large in scope, involves a lot of terrain and miniatures yet to be completed, and given the nature of post apoc, most projects for this involve more work (and time) than those for other periods.  Thus, dropping post apoc would make sense, eliminating a disproportionate amount of projects and work in the future.  But it is one of the periods that I am most enthusiastic about, and feeds my need for an artistic (limited as my skills are) gaming outlet.

I've tried approaching my problem from different perspectives, without finding a satisfactory solution.  But, during the "Covid era" I did succeed in staying largely focused on my Cold War project, or family of projects, which largely contrasts my much broader shotgun approach to the hobby before that.

Given that "success", I've decided to try selecting a subset of ten periods, and moving forward will attempt to limit work to these, with a goal of achieving a state of semi-completion, before moving on to new periods and their associated projects.

If nothing else, this will result in a much more limited shotgun approach, hopefully leading to a better balance between building/painting and playing games, than I've accomplished working on all thirty-some periods at once. 

So, the ten "periods" are:

1/3788 Star Trek/Star Fleet Battles Klingon, Federation, and Romulan fleets (Lyran and Kzinti are more or less done).  I already have a good start on Klingon fleet, with some Federation and a few Romulan ships done.  The plan will be to complete one fleet at a time, each as a single project, maybe separated by other periods.

6mm 1950s Cold War.  I've already started the campaign for this, and work is almost complete, with just a few aircraft and a handful of support vehicles needing paint.  The plan is to work on this for a couple weeks to a month, and then maybe occasionally add a few overlooked vehicles here and there as needed.

6mm WWII East Front Barbarossa. Despite having a fair amount of armor done for each side, this still needs a bunch of work; vehicles, infantry, aircraft, terrain, and buildings.  I plan to continue picking up miniatures for this, as the money tree permits, and work on like items for each nation as projects; German armor, Russian armor, German aircraft, etc.  These projects will be alternated with projects for other periods on this list.  I should be able to get some games on the table by next year.

15mm WWII East Front, Barbarossa.  This will go hand in hand with my 6mm Barbarossa, allowing focus on smaller and more infantry oriented battles.  All of the infantry are done, as are most of the German vehicles.  I still need to add a small number of German and a notably larger number of Russian vehicles.  I have no soviet aircraft yet, and will need to build some East front buildings to get this on the table. The various parts of this will be done as separate projects, alternated between other period projects.

15mm France 1940.  Largely done.  I may add a few bits of terrain as needed, and otherwise have a very small number of vehicles and a few airplanes to paint.  This will likely get completed as a single 4-6 week project, though may take less time.

15mm Cold War 1950s.  The biggest single step for this is to paint British infantry, which will make it table ready.  Additionally, I plan t add a small number of vehicles and to build a few airplanes.  I figure that it can be all done in a two to three month window.

15mm 1970s Cold War.  This will involve Soviet, East German, US, UK, and French forces.  I have all of the infantry, with East German, Soviet, and US painted.  Soviet and UK vehicles are done, as are a small number of US vehicles.  The holdup is really the US vehicles, which I mostly have yet to build masters, mold, and cast.  Currently, I still cannot get casting resin, due to chaos initiated by Covid.  This will be completed as a series of projects by nation, spread out over years.  The US forces will be the last to be completed due to the mastering and casting process, but I will be able to bring games to the table in far less than the total completion time, as I get the most complete armies done first.

15mm Soviet-Afghan War.  I already have a large collection of infantry, Soviet vehicles, and terrain for this conflict.  Rounding it out will involve adding a few more helicopters and a mix of terrain items; walls, ruined buildings, gardens, etc.  I've also been toying around with a design for a more dramatic modular hill/mountain system.   Work will consist of new terrain projects or aircraft as needed for scenarios.

20mm Vietnam.   An infantry company (plus support) each of US, PAVN, and VC is ready to go.  Primarily, I need to add terrain, and a  hand full of aircraft, and then will likely build up Vietnamese forces for some larger scenarios.  The work will be done as a series of projects as needed to put scenarios on the table.

28mm Post Apocalypse.  This has been an ongoing project for many years, and I've only touched the tip of the iceberg.  The period will be addressed as a series of terrain pieces and miniature factions added as needed to develop my campaign.  I can see spending 2-3 months per year for several years to get this period developed.

Of these, I can currently put seven of the periods on the tabletop in some form, without any further work, so most of this is filling out the scope of the periods/conflicts.  

For now the goal will be to focus only on these ten periods, putting everything else on back burner until a period is "completed", at which point, I can choose to add one of the back burner projects to the group of ten, or to simply focus on the remaining periods on the list.  I'll decide which route to go, when I get to that point.  

I'm hoping that this approach will allow me to balance completing projects with playing more often, as I find that I often have a sense of needing to "complete" all of my projects before playing.  I'm also thinking that by the time significant progress is made on these periods, that the sparkle of some of the back burner periods and projects will not be so bright, maybe making it easier to let go of a few things.

It may still seem like a pretty brood approach (or maybe just plain silly), but for awhile at least, narrows the scope of work to just over a fifth of the projects, and just over a quarter of the periods that I've started.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Full Circle With Heritage's Panzertroops

Over forty years ago, a friend invited me to play my first miniatures game, Panzertroops, published by Heritage Miniatures.  The game came boxed with 15mm WWII American and German miniatures,  but the local shop didn't carry much of the line beyond the boxed game, and we opted for the cheaper, and slightly more readily available 1/72 kits and plastic figures at the time.

This resulted in my fielding M3 halftracks, Stuarts, and Lees against Panzer IIIs and Jagdpanthers for the most part.  I don't remember ever winning a game, but on one or two occasions, I did manage to get a bazooka shot on Jagdpanther, which was just about as good.

Panzertroops gave you the tools to add stats for additional vehicles and weapons not included in the rules, and we expanded the game accordingly.  After a couple of years, we moved on to other rules and scales, and shortly after that, I began writing my own rules.  

Though I never owned the boxed game, I do still have my bad photocopy of the rules, and recently, I stumbled onto an original copy of the rules on the web.  Eight pages include all of the rules and painting guides for the US and German figs that were included in the box.

As it happens, I did eventually get into 15mm WWII miniatures in the late 1980s, via Quality Castings, which happened to be an expanded version of the old Heritage line.   So, when I finish my current big non-hobby project that's sucking up all of my time, I plan to finally play a WWII game of Panzertroops rules, and with the 15mm miniaturess for which they were intended.

I wish that we had taken a couple of photos of one of those early games, played on a small table in Mark's basement on terrain constructed of paperback books with a couple of HO scale apple and pine trees from my model railroad stuff.

I'll be sure to take a couple of pics this time around.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Can't Get a Break

I've only managed about 30 minutes of hobby time since my last post, and besides a limited reading of hobby blogs, the only other hobby activity in recent weeks was contacting a manufacturer to ask about the status of an early June order for some 15mm vehicles that hadn't shown up.

They quickly discovered a snafu, resolved it, and sent the order.  On arrival, I discovered that I had made an error.  I ordered the miniatures having read that they were made of resin, thinking "cast in resin", but they are in fact printed in resin.  I'm the one gamer that is not a big fan of printed miniatures, and would not have ordered these had I realized that they were printed, as the extremely light weight, and stepped layers from the printing process are both issues for me.  So despite the high quality of detail, I was a bit let down by the models.  Live and learn.

But these models weren't done, adding further to my learning curve.  Another problem that I hadn't considered; the undersides (all lower hull and tires) of half of the vehicles are not completely cured, and are extremely sticky, almost liquid.  I can press a finger tip into them and leave a finger print, or have a finger puppet.  My choice. 

Otherwise, life has thrown another curve at me, so I'm looking at another four weeks of even less hobby time.  Hopefully I can come back to the hobby by the end of August, by which time I figure that I should be full of hobby mojo.   And though I whine about these inconveniences here, I'm keeping it all in perspective.  I see a lot of other people out there dealing with serious health issues, major financial problems, etc.  Things could be a lot worse, and I'm thankful that in the big picture, I'm doing okay.

For now, I'll leave you with this:

My "current" project and dust collector.  
Mama's Farm, a 28mm communal post apocalyptic farm.

Hope you are all having a great summer, and best of luck to you.  As the big guy once said, "I'll be back!"