Monday, December 31, 2018

Charlie's Journal - Long Range Recon: Days 1 and 2


We started out today.  Drove east on the old highway for awhile, then veered slightly north cross country. Ran into a radiation zone, and then spent half the day working our way around it.  Scared the bejesus out of me when the alarm went off; everything was so peaceful.

Bumped into a few small settlements, and talked to some people about the Confederation.  Got shot at by some others, but just warning shots.  Can't really blame 'em though, people gotta be careful livin' out on their own like that, and most people never seen nothin' like the Goat. Gotta be kinda scary seein' it come out of the wastes.

In the evenin', we stopped while we still had some light.  Recharged the batteries a little, while Panky fiddled with the drone.  Noticed Sam writin' in a book, but when I asked her 'bout it, she just said it was personal, and put it away.  I keep my own thoughts in a journal, I understood.

After squarin' away things on the Goat, I wondered around a bit.  Didn't find much of interest, just basically looked like things do back at home. Dust and rocks. Yellow and Brown.  It was getting dark, so I got back to the Goat.  Took the first evening watch.  Just me and the stars.


AMBUSH! - Initial setup.

Lots of excitement, followed by lots of boredom today.  Stumbled into a gang waitin' in ambush.  Panky was fiddling with the drone; it wasn't working right, and I was down looking for a screw she dropped on the floor of the Goat.  And... SURPRISE!  A voice calls out, "Don't nobody move!"

Panky talking to Charlie inside through the hatch.  
A voice calls out behind her.

They were waiting in the rocks, had a good set-up too, just caught more than they could handle.  Some looked more like soldiers, than the usual gang.  Had some interesting weapons too.  Gangs don't usually have las-rifles, no way to re-charge them out in the wastes.  So, pretty strange.

Shooting starts, but nobody can hit anything.

The Goat is backing, Charlie finally hits a guy up front on the 
cliff with the autocannon.  Shots going everywhere.

As soon as the ambush started, Panky rolled under the Goat and returned fire. I slewed the turret around, and mostly just laid down a suppressive fire.  Panky climb onto the Goat, firing wildly as she hung on, and Sam got us out the way we came in.  They tried to close the gate behind us, but weren't really prepared fort he Goat, so couldn't keep us locked in.  One of the kills was Sam runnin' over a dude.  Afterward, she said she always feels bad about road kills.

Roadkill, now in front of the backing Goat.  
Las-guns hit the left side of the Goat.

Got pretty nasty for a few minutes, but the goat saved us again.  We killed a couple of them, and are real lucky they didn't pick-off Panky standing outside the vehicle like that with the drone.  

The Goat backing away, now spraying the rocks to the right with fire.

Funny part is that we left the drone sittin' there, but before they got to it, Panky started it up, and was able to fly it back to us.  The bad guys took a few shots at it, but luckily missed.

The Goat speeding away from the ambush.

Panky was pretty mad about us getting caught flat-footed like that.  Said that it ain't happenin' again.  Not sure if we really would have been better off, if we had set a watch.  I'm thinkin' we would have all just been overrun outside the Goat.  But I understand why she's mad.

Had to spend some time re-charging the batteries after that, and keeping an eye out for our friends, but we had put some distance between them and us.  Panky worked out the bug with the drone, while Sam and I kept watch.  Re-charging the batteries sucks.  Panky reported in at the end of the day; not sure if the message got received.

Country still looks pretty much like home. Dust and rock and all.

Looking Back at 2018

The year started out with an ambitious project, building the modular cliffs for my post apocalypse (and other) games, and generally, I made progress and played some games in each of the periods that I'm currently most invested in; the 28mm post-apocalypse, 15mm African imagi-nations, and the Star Fleet Battles campaign.

The year on the hobby front was full of goodness, and brought a couple surprises.  6mm African imagi-nations came about through necessity, and with the exception of detail painting some buildings is ready for the table top.  And, my 6mm Cold War armies got a tremendous boost (more than 900 miniatures painted), with three NATO armies, and that of the Soviet Union more or less completed. 

 I expanded my horizons a little, placing first orders with a number of companies, who all yielded excellent experiences and products.  A number of the products were for my post-apoc games, and I owe thanks to Mattglackgod for his tireless support of the genre through his blog, and the Post Apoc Wargames Forum, and to the guys on the forum, who supply a constant stream of inspiration through their amazing efforts.

My latest additions for the post apocalypse from Crooked Dice.

One irony during the year, was that I finally built up enough Lyran and Kzinti forces to play decent sized fleet battles in our Star Fleet campaign with miniatures, with more than 20 ships available per side.  But, our campaign progressed such that the two fleets fought one major battle (with counters, too many ships for miniatures, around 80), in which the Kzinti lost a tremendous portion of their fleet, and now they do not have vessels left for the miniatures to represent.  Thus, most of the completed Kzinti models will probably never be used in the campaign.

All things considered, I made great progress on four of five target projects for the year; 15mm Africa, post-apoc, Cold War, and SFB.  Only my 28mm near future project got neglected.  15mm Cold War didn't get the attention that I had hoped, as I simply wasn't able to complete any masters for vehicles, though I did add a few from other sources, and get some infantry painted.

Though I closed the year with a flurry of SFB games (even one with miniatures), the number of games played took a little dip as compared to last year.  This was mainly due to time spent putting together 6mm modern Africa, and about three months of time committed to casting and selling 15mm vehicles.  All things considered though, 2018 was a banner year on the hobby front. 

The Lyran fleet advancing towards a small Kzinti fleet in the distance, 
the wave of Kzinti drones most visible.

My plans, targets, and goals for 2019 remain largely the same as those for 2018, to make progress on 15mm Africa, 6mm & 15mm Cold War, 28mm post-apoc, and SFB.  I expect that 28mm near future will see some work this year, as I have whittled down the to-do list for some of the other periods significantly.

So now I will close this post, and later today, the the year with a post-apoc game.

Hope everyone has a great 2019!!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cliffs Are Done, But Late On Everything Else

They used every scrap of time that I could muster over the last week, but the additional cliff sections are done.

The seam in the road didn't look so bad when I first lined them up, should have fixed it, after jostling the pieces around with the other sections.  

Now to start getting caught up on everything else.  I've got a couple short Star Fleet battles to write up from our campaign, plus the first SFB miniatures game coming up this Sunday, still need to finish up those African buildings, and going to try to at least get in a post-apoc game from Charlie and the Goat's latest adventure before the holidays are over. 

Gotta run...

Friday, December 21, 2018

A Few More Cliffs for the Apocalypse

I've been trying to get my 6mm African buildings done, but have been struggling for whatever reason with only four of them more or less painted after a couple of weeks.  I've also really been struggling with being cramped in my gaming space, due to simply having too much stuff. 

So, I took a look around, and made note of what I can do to make some quick progress with respect to de-cluttering.  One item that was obvious was about 10 cubic feet of foam bits that I had been holding onto for some modular cliff sections that I didn't get around to earlier in the year.  This was just as well, as I needed to finish three pieces for some oft he "Charlies Journal" post-apoc games that I'm still hoping to do this month.

I chased down my list of needed cliff sections, and set aside the foam that was needed, I knew that I had way more foam than was needed, but I simply have a hard time throwing the stuff out.  But, after sorting was finishing,  about 6 cubic feet of junk exited the building. 

So with my African buildings, and holiday gaming schedule pushed aside, I now have a table top covered in new terrain pieces and foam dust.

Here are the roughed out sections needed for the upcoming games, a road transition through the cliffs.

Still a lot of work to do on the road itself, but the cliffs and basic roadbed are more or less done.

Transitions from the 3" to 6 inch cliffs are something that would be helpful too, so I knocked out a couple of those.

And the rest of the  new pieces; a pair of six inch wide sections of both 3 and 6 inch high cliffs fr more flexibility in set up (previous cliff sections were 12 inches wide), and another inside corner piece.

I'm going to try to scrape up enough energy tonight to finish the roadbed contour and details and get some filler in the seams and divots.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Book Sale Page

I've added a page to my blog to lists books that I am offering for sale.  There are currently about a dozen books listed, covering the Cold War, Vietnam, WWII, and model-building/painting.  It is located at:  Books For Sale page

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pushing Ahead

The 6mm Soviets are finally off of my painting table (659 miniatures painted), giving way to the 6mm African buildings.  So far, only some cleaning and assembling has been completed, as I've been slowed by my back, which somehow, I've managed to injure through painting and casting.

This weekend we will be playing our next Star Fleet battles campaign game.  A Klingon attack on a Kzinti planet.  Another very unbalanced scenario, where a small Klingon fleet, consisting of about 7 F5 and E4 frigates and escorts, accompanied by their D6 fleet command ship take on a couple of police ships and the local fighter protection.

With any luck, I will have the African buildings and infantry ready for my first 6mm Africa game, during the following week.

That's about it for now.  Should have a few pics of painted African buildings in my next post.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Odds and Ends - December 2018

My frequency of posting has dropped as a result of giving time to selling miniatures again.  A couple people have asked me about the status of my campaigns and whatnot, so thought that I'd share what is happening.

6mm African Imagi-Nations
My African imagi-nations are waiting for me to finish painting 6mm infantry and to finish up the 6mm buildings.  Once these items are done, I'll be able to play the next couple of battles in the war between Uwanda and Mugabia.

Mugabian infantry are based and partially painted.  Uwanda's infantry have yet to be based.  I've been waffling between using either the H&R British or Scotia South Africans to represent the Uwandan infantry, and just haven't made a decision yet.

The African buildings are proving to be a bit of a pain to cast, though I have almost enough castings for the table top.  I'll probably fill my quota during the midweek casting run, and then move on to building them up and painting.

I expect to get in at least two of the 6mm battles during December.

28mm Post Apocalypse
This has turned into a little of a problem.  I posted the intro to "Charlie's Journal" about a long range recon mission for the crew of the goat, after creating a pretty involved mini-campaign with lots of scenario possibilities, back story, introduction of new factions, and making most of the tabletop bits to support it, only to find that my folder of notes has vanished. 

This involved quite an investment of time, and though I remember most of the key elements, I really don't want to start over and re-write it.  So, I'm hoping the folder turns up during the Holiday season, though I'm fearing that it was inadvertently thrown away, while the family was cleaning up for the Thanksgiving holiday.  If it doesn't turn up in the next couple of weeks, I'll start over, as I plan to play a couple post apoc games during the holidays in addition to the 6mm African games.

6mm Cold War Soviets
Though I haven't gamed much of this in recent years, this is actually one of my most loved and most gamed subjects.  I've been wanting to get this going again for some time, and the 6mm African stuff provided a segue into it.  While waiting for some miniatures to arrive for Africa, I started painting my other Cold War era British vehicles that hadn't been addressed in years past. Upon completing those, I moved to the French and Germans, completing about 350 miniatures in late August and September.

October was dedicated to molds, casting vehicles for sale, and to the 6mm building masters.  But once I got those moving along, and pulled out the trays of Soviets, while looking for other things, I just couldn't resist the call to paint them.  So, I've now completed around 340 of what will be about 550 vehicles needing paint. Mostly T72s and T80s remain to be painted, and I expect to be done in about 8 days.  The solid green vehicles move across the painting table rather quickly.   By that time, I should start to have African buildings starting to build up on the painting table.

Irishserb's Vehicles and Other Stuff for Sale
So yeah, a lot of time over the last couple of months has been committed to mold making and casting, and despite building up some inventory, I hadn't anticipated the popularity of the VBLs, so have constantly been behind on these after about day two of selling the little beasts.

The main issue lies in the fact that the composition of the mold material has been changed from what it was a few years ago, resulting in far shorter mold life (in the 20-35% range of the old material). 

I've experimented with other products, but for one reason or another, haven't found anything that performs as well as my original choice before the chemical change.  Anyway, the result is that I spend a lot of time making new molds, which is tedious, and ties up the same space as my casting.  So I can do one or the other.  I used to spend about 15% of the associated time mold making, now it is more like half.

15mm Peugeot P4 Master
The P4 is not currently available.  I lost some of the original parts of this model, as well as the pre-production mold and master.  I am at a total lost as to how this happened, as three distinct and different errors had to be made in rapid succession, but it did happen.  So, I will be remaking master parts, and trying to get molds for these again in the near term.

6mm Modern African Buildings
It turns out that casting these has been a real pain in the doodle.  They are similar to and less detailed than my European buildings, but resulting to 3-5 times as many reject castings. 

Additionally, the multi-building residences with walls are proving to take a very disproportionate amount of time to cast relative to their probable market value.  So I will probably end up altering my original plan to sell the buildings and cast walls as kits.  Right now I am leaning toward the kit consisting of the group of three or four buildings  and a strip of cut styrene plastic, from which the walls can be cut and built by the purchaser.  This will reduce the casting time and cycles by a factor of three.

The African buildings still may be a very short run thing, as I don't expect a large demand for them.  I expect that they will hit my site by mid-December.

6mm European and Mid-Eastern Buildings
I have had these for many years, and recently made alterations, mainly updating and adding some detail to the Arab buildings, and will make them available very soon, probably with the African buildings. 

The European buildings are primarily Belgian and French stone structures for use with WWII gaming, though can work for both earlier and later periods.  They are 1/285 scale, each based on an actual structure, and generally fit with GHQ's metal buildings in size.  They are distinctly smaller than the Timecast buildings that I have.

The Mid-Eastern buildings, also 1/285 scale,  are based on various structures from the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli conflicts, and most will be available in bombed out and undamaged versions.  These buildings are generally basic structures, designed so that they can be combined to make more complex composite structures. They were also designed such that minor detailing could be added to make them more unique,  rather than have a bunch of identical clones on the table.

Other (New) 15mm and (maybe 20mm) Vehicles
A few years back, we had a flood in our basement on Christmas.  The damage wasn't too bad, but the break occurred behind my work table, where I made miniature masters.  The flood washed away bits for various things that I had going on at the time, parts for a GAZ TIGR, a MATV, and the entire set of parts for a 20mm scale M151 Jeep (I do Vietnam in 20mm).

All of those models and a couple of others have been in limbo since the flood, as I hate making things twice.  But, it is my intention to finish all of these and make them available (well, not sure about the Jeep).  In addition, in support of my own Cold War gaming, I plan to finish my M60A1 turret after the 6mm African buildings (I've been working on it on and off in between other projects, as well as the family of M113 variants.  And, the ACMAT VLRA is back on the menu.  Beyond those, I have interest in a variety of Cold War vehicles, mostly Soviet, US, and French.  I have a list, but no idea on a timeline, so I'll stop babbling about them.

Anyway, I've been keeping busy (too much so), despite not posting as much here, and being away from some of the online forums.