Saturday, September 29, 2018

My First Order from Heroics & Ros

Despite having purchased my first Heroics & Ros 6mm infantry circa 1983, I only placed my first direct order with H&R a few weeks ago.  I ordered infantry, vehicles, and aircraft for the 6mm version of my third world imagi-nations war.  Immediately after ordering , I received a message from Andy at H&R who noticed an inconsistency in my order, and asked if I meant "this or actually that?". As it turned out, he was right in his suspicion, and corrected my error.  I was quite impressed with him at that point.

My order was quickly dispatched, and arrived across the big water at my local post office in about 9 days.  My postal carrier then tried to deliver two packages, left a note saying that I had a parcel to pick up at the post office, which I picked up the next day, and all was well.

Unfortunately, I actually had two parcels to pick up, so I waited another three weeks, before e-mailing Andy at H&R.  Andy again took the initiative, and chased down the fact that the parcel was sitting at my post office for the last three weeks (my apologies to US customs, who I thought was once again having fun with me), waiting to be picked up.  The package was retrieved later in the day, and I am thoroughly delighted with everything.  Most importantly, I cannot express how impressed I am with Andy and the service provided by Heroics and Ros.

If you are not familiar with Heroics & Ros, or have possible interest in H&R products, please visit the H&R site.  Andy has set the standard by which other others should be compared for offering exemplary service.

Here are the toys:

BM75  Vickers Mk III

BM14 Ferret

BM32 1/2 Ton Landrover

SMA401 Mig 23/27

SMA204 Yak38 Forger

SMA405 Mi2 Hoplite

M26 1980s British infantry

M27 1980s British Infantry Support

M28 Soviet Motor Rifles

M29 Soviet Motor Rifle Support

Overall, I am quite happy with the castings.  The Mi2 Hoplite is just too cool, and will be a proxy for Mugabian Mi4s in my game.  The infantry are the newer castings, and the most upright standing figures measure about 6.5mm tall bottom of foot to top of helmet.

The new infantry appear a touch taller and more crisp than the older style, but I think would work fine on the table with units made of the older figs.  I know that I will have older and newer figs on the table at the same time, with no reservations.

Anyway, hats off to Heroics & Ros for the fabulous service.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

First Two 6mm Modern African Buildings Built

I finally finished the first two 6mm buildings for my modern African imagi-nation games.  They are patterned after 15mm buildings that I made previously, which are based on actual buildings from various African countries.  These two are more or less ready to be put into molds:

The nearer building is about 1 inch wide and roughly 1.25 inches deep.

Showing the pieces for the porch, the rectangle 
in front of the second building is the sign board.

These two are their 15mm counterparts:

Though I don't expect too much interest in them, I plan to make as many of these 6mm models available for purchase, as I can.  The porch rails will come as either plastic or brass rod.

If nothing else, it feels good to have at least got something built.  Hobby progress has slowed quite a bit as compared to the last couple of months.  I'm hoping to have a couple more done by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Nostalgia at Sea

I haven't accomplished much of anything over the last couple of weeks, except a little molding and casting, but while searching for 6mm buildings and supplies, I stumbled upon more old school leftovers from my early 1980s gaming.

I was introduced to naval gaming through Avalon Hill's Bismarck, for which a friend had added every battleship from Dreadnought to the four turreted Montana's that were never built.  So somewhere around 1982, I decided to try to provide bits for a modern naval game.

Originally, I think we were going to base it on some of the Bismarck mechanics, but that never happened, as I remember it.  I'm not sure what we used originally, probably some half written home-brew stuff, but I tumbled on something called Naval Battle Group (might have come from Superior/Alnavco?), which as I remember it, required us to fill/add in a lot of detail.

Anyway, we didn't have any miniatures when we started, so I made hand drawn counters for most classes of ships in the Soviet and US fleet circa 1978-1982.  The counter sheets were then photocopied, glued to matte-board, and hand colored with markers.  here is a large portion of the markers:

Our US and Soviet fleets

Better views of the US ships:

Subs, cruisers, amphibious ship, and carriers, including Nimitz, 
Carl Vinson (probably our newest flattop at the time), Enterprise, 
Kittyhawk, Ranger, Midway and others.

FFGs, DDs, Ashville PGs, and Minesweepers.
The refitted New Jersey was added a couple of years later.

And the Soviets:

Pride of the Soviet Navy; the Kievs, Moskva, a couple of the
 Sverdlovs, various cruisers, DDs, FFs, and PGs such as the
 Nanuchka and Petya.

Soviet Amphibious ships, Ivan Rogovs, Polnocny class
 (which is misspelled n the marker), Alligators, and mine sweepers.

And the Soviet submarine fleet.

I don't specifically remember the scale of the markers, though they were drawn in a constant scale.  I was thinking maybe 1/4800, but measured it out based on the length of Nimitz, and they appear to be about 1/5400th.

After playing a bit with the markers, I discovered that I could order 1/2400 Alnavco (Superior) ships through our local hobby shop, the long defunct Modeler's Haven in North Canton, Ohio.

Front to rear, Superior's C.F. Adams x2, Long Beach, The refitted 
New Jersey, and the Soviet Kirov, which I apparently never 
made a marker for.

Missing a few masts, but otherwise, not too bad off for 33 year old models.  Paint was pretty basic (then again, photos of modern vessels were pretty scarce back then).  I think that I had a couple of Kashin class DDGs, but sadly, they were apparently lost in transit over the years (A moment of silence, please).  Unfortunately, I think that was as big as my miniature fleets ever got.  

I played around with Harpoon a little, but by the late 1980s, both my miniatures and markers fell into dis-use, and they've been making the journey with me in mothball all these years since.  I've always wanted to get back to Cold War Naval gaming, and have considered in recent years picking up some ships and aircraft a number of times.  

There is a decent selection of US and Soviet stuff out there, though other Navies are more limited.  I figure that I could scratch-build (and cast) what I needed, that couldn't be gotten otherwise, when the time arises to do so.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Perfect Six Miniatures

I recently received my first order from Perfect Six Miniatures.  I became aware of Perfect Six after asking for suggestions for sources of 6mm field fortifications on The Wargames Website.  I found their site easy to navigate, featuring many photos of their products, and received the order across the big water (to the USA) in about 16 days.  

I ordered packs of:

SB1 Sand Bags - A set of sandbag emplacements featuring horseshoe, straight, and corners sections.

FEW1 Field Earth works - A set of straight modular barricade sections.

All of the castings are metal, giving them enough heft that they won't bump about to easily.  The castings are nicely detailed, and had no flash.  I painted and flocked mine, combining some the sandbag sections into emplacements that will fit my based figures.

Here are some pics of the finished miniatures, with some GHQ modern (Vietnam era) infantry mounted on half inch and 3/8 inch by .04 inch thick stands for size reference:

Sandbag emplacements in the foreground.

Barricade sections, showing fronts and backs of the different sections.

A little lower angle.

Some of the sandbags sections were mounted on .04 inch 
thick styrene bases.

Perfect Six has a variety of products and scale, all of which appear to be nicely done.  Simply said, I am quite happy with the product and ordering experience, and will definitely be ordering from them again.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A "Little" Nostalgia

About 30 years ago, I built a number of 6mm buildings for use in Red Dawn type scenarios with micro-armor.  In time they were lent to a friend for games at his house, and eventually fell into disuse as we found fewer opportunities to game.  A couple of years ago, the friend returned the box of buildings and whatnot, and I had stashed them away,  again forgotten until the other night, while looking for something else.

I had forgotten about many of them, and as I looked through them, remembered others that have gone missing.  Some have lost their roofs or other bits, and a couple have been warped from being squashed in a box for a nearly two decades, though some may still be serviceable with a little touch up and detailing.

Most were based on buildings from where I grew up,  a few were inspired by other sources.  Generally they are built from styrene, some are styrene with vinyl textured sheet laminated to the basic walls.  A GHQ AMX30, and an old stand of H&R French WWII infantry are shown for size comparison.

If you were in Steubenvlle, Ohio in the 1960s or 70s, you might 
recognize a few of these buildings.  I believe Borey, Inc. was a 
furniture store.  I don't remember what the red brick building in
 the center was, and unfortunately, the sign over the door has 
been broken off.  And the First national bank building  
stood at the center of town.

I think the near building was a post office, but can't remember where 
now.  The second was a Steubenville VFW on South 3rd street, 
and Andy's Grocery was a block south from there on S. 3rd.

I don't remember the actual signage on Andy's, but it was similar
 in style to that shown.  This was done before the age of printing 
home made decals, so everything had to be hand painted.

This strip plaza is based on one in Columbus, OH.  And was to have 
a "Just Sweats" store and grocery among other stores in it. 
 It was made about 1988, when I apparently had already acquired the
 "more projects, than freetime" problem so common to gamers.

This radio station was based on a small station from 
somewhere out west, that we conducted a fire investigation 
on at work back in the 1980s.  The "WKRP" identification 
was inspired by the TV show.

The Holiday Inn sign was inspired by one on eastbound route 
70 west of Zanesville, OH.  The mail pouch barn was inspired by 
one somewhere along State Rt. 3 in Ohio.

A collection of houses, and a small bank with drive-through.  
There used to be a base with parking lot and drive through lanes, 
but it is long gone.

These next three pics are of the house I grew up in.  
There was a three story hotel facing the street 
(apartments by the time I came along), with a driveway under 
the sun porches to the bricked in courtyard behind it.  
originally houses surrounded the courtyard, 
when it was built in the 1920s.

Our house was the one at the end in back.  There was an apartment 
next to it over two garages.  On the other side of the little wall in back 
was a set of RR tracks going to Wheeling Steel at the end of the block. 
Despite the urban grungy-ness of it, it was actually an amazing 
place to grow up.

The model has suffered a bit, as did the real building that inspired it.  
Among its unique features, it had a number of passageways 
and compartments made during prohibition.  For example, 
the fireplace in my bedroom didn't work, and didn't have 
a chimney, because the gas front was facade that hinged 
upward, and concealed a little chamber with racks for bottles 
of  alcohol.  Additionally, there were two escape tunnels in the cellar, 
one passing under the two garages, and opening through a trap door 
into the hotel.  The other ended at a bricked doorway that used to 
go into another building behind the house, that was razed before 
I was born.  Wish the building was still standing; it would be fascinating 
to see again.

Also found in the box, were a few of my earliest attempts  at 6mm houses, dating to about 1983, and constructed from Bristol board.  By 1988, I had switched over to plastic to get better textures, particularly Holgate & Reynolds Z scale sheets (long out of production, as far as I know).

A few houses, with a bombed out factory.  Originally, I built both intact 
and bombed out versions of each building.  The first buildings were very
 simple, but I quickly began adding more detail as seen in the factory.

The Bristol board is very dense and rigid, and doesn't fray at the edges
 like poster board.  It has stood up pretty well considering that this 
model is 35 years old, probably used in 200 games, and been moved, 
squashed and stored in damp basements and dusty attics for 20 years.

 And thus ends my little trip down memory lane.  Time to get back to work on the present (and he past, and future for that matter).

Monday, September 10, 2018

Surprising Painting Progress

When I started painting the odds and ends needed for gaming my third world imagi-nations in 6mm, I hadn't realized just how much micro-armor that I had laying about.  A pack here, a pack there, trays with 10 or 20 vehicles, pushed onto the tops of my storage bins, in between things on shelves.  Good lord!  They're everywhere.

So, while working on the first batch of Uwanda's vehicles, I started consolidating, pulling together the models by nation for the Cold War, mostly.  And while waiting for a batch of Uwanda-Mugabia stuff that is visiting with customs (you know how they get about these arms shipments), I decided to work on some of the other micro-armor, just to get the clutter put away, and have made tremendous progress.

I started by adding a bunch of British vehicles:

Centurions and Challenger Is.

A mix of British equipment for the 1970s-1980s, including scratch-built 
tracked rapiers that I made around 1990, and have yet to reach the tabletop.

And then a little West German:

Gepard, Leo II, and Jagdpanzer K.

A mix of 1970s-1980s FRG equipment.

And finally French:

A mix of APCs and light armor.

AMX30s, AMX10RC, and ERC90, with some AMX-DCA.

At this point, after painting only 90 miniatures in the first seven months of the year, I've managed to finish 409 in the last four weeks.  A few of these have been meandering about on my shelves, since Reagan was getting settled in the Oval Office.

And the British,  American, and Soviet stuff for Uwanda and Mugabia:

British equipment for Uwanda

American WWII surplus, again for Uwanda.

Soviet equipment for Mugabia; BTR40s and ZU23/2.

I'll be focusing on 15mm mold-making and casting for a couple of weeks, and with any luck the last of the third world stuff will arrive, and I'll be set to carry on my imagi-nation campaign.