Saturday, May 19, 2018

31st Annual Armed Forces Day Celebration - Findlay, Ohio

This morning we trekked over/up to Findlay for the 31st Annual Armed Forces Day Celebration.  This is our first visit to this three day event, and I'm happy to say that it far exceeded my expectations.

It consists of a model show, re-enactors, vendors of militaria ranging from books to vehicles, displays of equipment, weapons, and vehicles, demonstrations, and if so inclined, rides in Huey medevac choppers from Vietnam.  I'm sure that there are other activities and events that I've missed, but you get the idea.

As we left the parking lot, we immediately happened upon WWII German re-enactors with an outstanding display of small arms and equipment, each doing an great job of engaging the public and sharing their knowledge.  Following that, was an equally nice American Rev War encampment.  As we were leaving that area, we were overtaken by a US Army squad conducting a patrol circa 1969.

Next was a live fire (literally) demonstration with flame-throwers, presented by the local USMC recruiters.  We were probably 75 feet or more from the flame, and the heat was surprisingly intense.  Spectators that insisted on crowding the fence probably 50-55 feet away from the flame, were pushed out of their area from the heat.

There were buildings each housing the scale models, and then equipment displays, and several more buildings with vendors.  Prices ranged, but were generally better than Ebay, flea markets, and auctions that I've been to.  I picked up a couple small uniform items as painting guides for figs I'll soon be working on.  the focus of the products is heavy WWII to modern, but there was a smattering of earlier stuff ranging back to the Rev. War.

Intermixed among the buildings of vendors were displays of privately owned vehicles, mostly wheeled, but with a few tracked vehicles.  In all it was a great time, with a polite and well managed crowd, easy access, and a bargain for admission fee of $5.00

I didn't take a lot of pics, but here are a few:

Just an example of the types of displays in one of the buildings. 
Subject matter ranged mostly from WWII to the Gulf.

A beautiful halftrack.

An M16A1.


Can you imagine being the neighbor of the guy that
wheels this thing out of his garage?  

A Nike Hercules, I wants!

A Jeep for my daughter, she has a thing for this chassis.

From the flamethrower demonstration, an M9A1-7, and a M2-2.

The M35 (? I think) gun truck, the nearest weapon on back is a torch...

... as you can see here.

And the demonstration of the man portable weapons.

The guy operating the M2 was surprised by the kick from the projector, 
as he was jolted back a step on firing for the first time.

I should have taken a lot more photos, but had eaten a lot of battery with taking some video, so was shooting sparingly.  I'll be better prepared next year.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Loading Up the painting Table Again

Both last year and this, I've been out-purchasing my painting, so I decided that it was time to catch up a little bit, and loaded up the painting table.

A few more 15mm GAZ66 trucks from QRF for my fictional third world conflict, and a few more 28mm scavengers for the post apocalypse, mostly Gaunt's ghosts from GW.

A company of Cold War 15mm East Germans from Battlefront, and some Peter Pig 15mm French Foreign Legion for a little after the Cold War.

And some 28mm post apoc terrain bits from Crooked Dice.

Now if I could just remember where I put my paint brush.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My Gaming Projects List

I don't know if anyone else does anything like this, but about 20 years ago, I reached a point, where I was failing to remember that status of some of my gaming projects.  On a couple of occasions, I scheduled games at my house using terrain that I had not yet finished.  In each case, I discovered the problem a day or so before the game, and in a mad scramble of building and painting, filled the void just in time for the game.

In an effort to avoid such crisis in the future, and to just generally keep track of all of my gaming projects, I came up with the "Gaming Project List". Simply, a paper listing of all of my projects, showing the current status of each project.

At the time, I really wasn't sure of what a gaming "project" even was, nor how to describe the current status of such projects.  I knew that a project was not a period or genre, and probably not an army either.  After considering it, it seemed that a gaming project could range from a single figure or terrain piece to an army unit, a village worth of buildings, or a table of terrain. A project expanded, or provided an element, for a game/period/genre.

I tinkered with how to qualify the status, eventually settling on ten "steps"; Design (can be researching items to purchase, or engineering something to be built), Purchase or Cast (which includes creating a master, molds, and castings as a single step, or just ordering something), Assembling, Basing, Painting, Detailing (lettering, adding decals,or other fine details), Flocking/finishing, Researching and rules development (as in, technical data, calculations, etc,), Writing/creating/typing (rules), Printing and organizing/labeling/boxing.

These may not seem ideal or even very logical, but they have achieved their purpose over the years. And, I haven't scheduled a game on terrain that wasn't yet built, since creating the list.

Currently, I have 239 projects on my list, which are 51.3% complete.  Projects range from being only in the design stage (51 of them exist only as notes and/or sketches), to only needing labels or proper storage boxes made for them.  This has been an extremely productive year with 15 projects already complete (as opposed to 10 for all of last year).

Probably the most important use for my Gaming Projects List has been as a motivational tool.  I find that when my mojo is down, the list helps me focus on a single step of a single project, allowing me to check off a box, and build a little steam.  When the mojo is good, it lets me organize and prioritize projects, such that they are completed in an orderly sequence, allowing me to bring something new to the table a little faster.

Another thing that the list did, was help me reduce the range of my gaming periods/genres.  Some years back, I went through a couple stages of cutting things down.  Looking at the list, and seeing that some periods (such as the Norman Conquest, Franco/Prussian War, and Great War) always got bumped for something else, helped me recognize that some projects just weren't ever going to reach the table top.

So there you have it, my Gaming Project List , a crutch for my feeble hobby brain. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wanted: Heritage's Panzertroops Boxed Game, Circa 1981

Panzertroops was one of the first published miniatures games that I ever played, and I would like to acquire a boxed copy of the rules.  I still have my photocopy of the original rules, but the actual game was swallowed by the labyrinth of time.

Anyway, I'd like to find a copy of the original boxed game and rules.  I believe the game was published in 1981; though, I am not positive.  I am hoping for as much of the original components as possible, though all of the original figs are not a must.  My understanding is that the game came in two versions, "Infantry Assault" and "Armor Attack".  Infantry Assault is preferred, but either is good.

If you have a copy that you are willing to part with, please send me an email at with details and price.


Monday, May 7, 2018

SFB: Converting Lyran Tugs Into Lyran Tugs

A little ways back I ordered a Lyran Cougar transport tug and a light cruiser with intentions of performing conversions on both models.  These are metal versions of the miniatures from ADB's Starline 2400 series.

The Cougar is basically a Heavy Cruiser hull with the addition of two plain, very low profile cargo pallets. I plan to run my Cougars as Battle Tugs most of the time, and decided that I would modify one of the pallets into a Battle pallet.  After receipt of the model, I conducted a search for depictions of the Lyran BT, and using that as inspiration, I decided to scratch-build a new pallet for the Battle tug.

Lyran Cougar Tug as received from ADB, with two cargo pallets.

I started of by cutting off the base mounting lug on the underside of the hull, and adding some structure to the underside of the hull, such that the pallet wouldn't interfere with the impulse engines.

I estimated dimensions for the Battle Pallet, and shaped the "U" shaped pallet from styrene sheet.  Detailing was added using the SSD as a guide with respect to weapons and other features.

My scratch-built battle pallet, next to the original cargo pallet.

The battle pallet attached to the ship, a hole was drill in the underside of the pallet to receive the mounting post from the base.

I'm pretty happy with the finished model, a reasonable interpretation/representation, I think.

I then converted a Light Cruiser into a Puma using the same process, first modifying the underside of the hull, and then adding a simpler scratch-built cargo pallet, resulting in the following model.

And a comparison shot of the two.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

SFB Miniatures, A Few Kzinti Conversions

During my recent binge of starship building, I completed a few minor Kzinti conversions.  The first was to convert a frigate into a scout by adding a second sensor dish under the front of the ship.

The other two conversions were to turn two frigates into drone frigates by adding additional drone racks/launchers on stubs extending from the hull just forward of the lower warp engines.

These were converted using styrene and brass wire from the metal Starline 2400 ships from Amarillo Design Bureau.   

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

SFB AAR 7-1: Collateral Damage

This massive battle was the culmination of seven turns of maneuver and skirmish, setting up the largest star Fleet Battles game that we had ever played against each other (in 38 years o play).  My combined Lyran/Klingon force consisted of 59 vessels facing 56 Kzinti warships.

Prior to the start, my expectation was that the battle would likely only last a turn, with whichever side finding themselves at a disadvantage at the end of the first turn, likely breaking contact and disengaging.  From the Lyran perspective, it was imperative to inflict as much damage as possible, as quickly as possible, without too much concern for losses, as long as an advantage could be achieved.

The Kzinti setup in roughly the center of our table, a screening force of battlecruisers in the lead, followed by two groups of carriers and escorts in side by side wedges. The entire group was tractoring fighters, such that more than a hundred of them would be available at the required time.  It was a very threatening site.

My forces were split into two groups, based on point of entry into the strategic hex.  A combined Lyran/Klingon force of 31 ships to the front of the Kzinti, and a smaller, and much lighter force of  28 ships on the Kzinti Left flank.

Early in the first turn.  The Kzinti (top center) have already started their
right turn towards the Lyran "flanking force" (left).  The combined
Lyran/Klingon force (lower right) never gets into the fray. 

At the time of initial setup, I envisioned that my mixed force would take a pounding, and feared that the flanking force would not close rapidly enough to have significant impact on the battle.

In the early impulses of the first turn, the Kzinti force turned sharply to the right to face my smaller force, leaving me to believe that my original assessment would still hold true, but with the role of my two forces reversed, and probably with even more favorable results for the Kzinti forces.

Each of my forces were deployed with a screen of lighter ships spaced two to three hexes apart and three to four lines deep, in an effort to maximize drone and fighter interception.  The Kzinti had at least 128 fighters and the capability to fire over 300 drones per turn. Larger Lyran ships followed the screen in three or more rows, but with spacing of one or two hexes, with generally the rearmost ships having more than one ship per hex.  This was in sharp contrast to the Kzinti formation, that featured four or five ships per hex, all more tightly packed than mine.

Through the first half of the first turn, the game progressed more or less as I had anticipated, and to be honest, did not look good for me.  My only saving grace to this point, was that after the turn, the Kzinti forces were awkwardly positioned, with their lethal force of 15 battle cruisers were at the farthest range from my forces.

As the fleets closed, I started losing screening ships at the rate of one every 1 to 2 impulses, each screening ship focusing their fire on a single, specific, Kzinti light cruiser, and deploying as many transporter bombs ahead of the enemy as possible as soon as their shields were breached.

Finally, after loosing about 5 ships, all police corvettes and frigates, I compounded enough fire to destroy an enemy CL, the explosion of which, caused shield damage to a number of Kzinti ships and destroyed a few of the drones which were starting to be launched.

My screening force largely vaporized, this is around the time that the
first Kzinti Cl was destroyed.  The Kzinti BCs are spread out toward the lower
right of the photo, the CVs and escorts more congested at the upper right.

By the time I destroyed a second CL, I had lost about 8 ships, and was becoming concerned. I had deployed a number of transporter bombs, and nothing larger than a DD had been lost, but the situation looked to only get worse, as the Kzinti would soon be in range to start picking on my bigger boats with their biggerer boats.

A couple of Lyran CLs were now in range as the Kzinti closed and started to hit the transporter bombs.  My CLs would be lost, but would take another Kzinti CL with them, and reach a turning point in the battle.  At this point the explosions of the Kzinti CL s began to breech the shields of a number of the Kzinti frigates in the group, which began taking internal damage.

With the passing of each impulse, more heavier Lyran ships came into range, and combined with the damage of transporter bombs, began to cause serious damage to Kzinti ships.  Each impulse another Kzinti frigate was destroyed, causing collateral damage on many of the tightly packed ships.

Kzinti maneuver was hampered by the transporter bombs, but finally the Kzinti made a hard right turn to move out of the exchange.  Regardless of which way they turned, a number of frigates would expose their destroyed side shields to several Lyran CEs, CAs, and a couple of heavier ships.

Shortly after having turn away from the Lyrans, Kzinti ships
start to go off like popcorn.

On the next impulse three more frigates exploded, taxing the shields of CVs, DNS, and other Kzinti heavy ships, and an impulse later, three more frigates were gone, breaching many shields on heavier ships.  The exploding frigates caused other frigates to explode, in turn causing more collateral damage to the bigger ships, which also started exploding like kernels of popcorn in a galactic microwave oven.

In the span of a single turn, 38 Kzinti ships were destroyed, for the loss of 11 Lyran,  even before the situation got ugly, the Kzinti player recognized the problem, but the large number of tightly packed ships, and placement of the transporter bombs gave them no out.

Had this been a more typical battle with 15-30 ships per side, it would have turned out very differently, the heavy ships would not have been at risk, and could have continued to methodically smash my Lyrans, probably erasing the Lyran force at a cost of maybe a dozen ships.  It was a very interesting game, that neither of us anticipated, despite the hundreds of SFB games that we have played over the years.

Losses were as follows:

4x Pol
2x FF
2x DD
1x DW
2x CL

2x DN
4x CV
1x CVT
2x TT (possibly CVT or BT)
2x CVL
4x CVE
4x CC
3x CL
3x DF
4x FF
9x EFF
4x LF
3x SF
3x L Q-ship (I think)

The implications of this battle are huge. The Kzinti have meager forces with which to stop the Klingon invasion of their space, their invasion of Lyran space is no longer a significant threat, and their surviving forces are cut off and need to contact and be resupplied by the invading Hydrans to avoid being dead in the water in two more turns.

The Lyrans are still in hot water though, as they are out-numbered and out-classed by the invading Hydran force, and will have to fight tenaciously, to wear down the Hydrans.  

The Klingons are in the best position to benefit at the moment, with Kzinti space almost up for grabs, and the potential of the Hydrans and Lyrans wearing each other down, possibly freeing up more space for the taking.