Thursday, December 31, 2020

Looking Back, Thinking Ahead, and Happy New Year

Well, after reviewing my goals for 2020, I've decided not to bother setting any for 2021.  The only thing that I planned to work on, that I actually I did work on, was preparing for my 6mm Cold War campaign.  I'm ready to get on with World War III, but first got to get about a hundred cubic feet of my daughter's junk from college out of the way to set up my the strategic map board/game.

Otherwise in 2020, I got some other stuff done; a couple post apoc buildings, 15mm Cold War British and Soviet vehicles, and a few other bits, but almost none of it was really planned, and since I didn't really do any gaming this year (only 3 games played), I'm basically 1 for 6 on planned projects for the year.

Covid didn't really impact me that much, as I'm already nearly a hermit anyway.  I worked pretty much a normal schedule all year, and ended up with a little less hobby time this year, as compared to last, resulting in about 190 fewer miniatures painted than in 2019(1457 painted during 2020).

For 2021, I'd like to have all kinds of big plans, but the reality is that I expect to play a little more, as I won't be chronically obsessed with working on Cold War stuff, since it is more or less done, and otherwise, will go wherever the gaming winds take me.  

I'm pretty sure that I spend some time fighting WWIII, and probably add a little bit more stuff to it.  I'll probably continue to piddle along with the post apocalypse, as I've done for the past few years.  Our Star Fleet Battles campaign will probably pick up again at some point this year, as will the the conflicts in imagi-Africa.

I've been slowly working toward gaming Kursk and the battle for Stonne (1940 France), and might get some work done on those. And then there is that "Near Future" thing, with KGB sleeper cells, MIB, and alien invasions all looming.

Of course, at any time, any of those projects could be disrupted by visits to Vietnam, the Sinai, a land filled with orcs and dwarves, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or colonial adventures in the South Pacific or East Asia.

Who knows what I'll work on, or where I will end up 2021?  For as troubling a year as 2020 has been, I managed to get through it, and I'm look forward to 2021 simply being a better year.  

I hope everyone out there has a great 2021, Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 21, 2020

More 6mm Soviet Cold War Jets Completed

 I finished painting a pair of Yak-28s, Mig-19s, and Mig-15s, and applied decals to 22 Soviet jets in all, including the freshly painted models, plus additional Mig-15s, Mig-17, and pairs of Su-7, Su-9, Il-28, and 4x Mig-21s.

I still have 52 aircraft in the painting queue, mostly helicopters from the 1950s and 60s.  I plan to paint them all, but will likely only decal the 1950s models for now.  The F101Bs still need some "jet exhaust" applied to the extended nozzles and underside, but are otherwise done.  They will have to sub for A and C models in Europe. Most of the other models are still just getting base-coats applied.  

I'm also still trying to decide what to do about my rotor disc problem.  Scrapbook dies to cut the appropriate sized rotors were going to cost upwards over $50 (I need rotors ranging from 1.125 to 3 inch diameters), more than I wanted to spend, so I probably need to dig out my circle cutter, as soon as I find some clear stock to make them from.  Not looking forward to cutting out rotors for 70 helicopters.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

1/285 Mil Mi-4 and Mi-2 Helicopter from Shapeways

I discovered a couple of years back that none of the traditional suppliers for 6mm military models made a Mil Mi-4 helicopter, an important model if you want to game the Soviets in the 1950s or 1960s, and had resigned myself to proxying them with Scotia Mi-2s.

Recently, I discovered that an Mi-4 model was available through Shapeways, paired with an Mi-2, and placed an order for four sets of models.

I just received my order of micro-scale Mil Mi-4 helicopters from the SNAFU store on Shapeways.   Coupled with an Mi-2 helicopter, the default option is in blue processed versatile plastic at $15.10 per pair of helicopters.

I'm not familiar with the blue plastic, and opted for white processed versatile plastic at $11.10 per pair. The pricing for the pair in this material is less than the cost of single helicopter from GHQ and probably in the range of 1.5 times the cost of Scotia-Grendal for a similar model.

The models are nicely detail, being just a little softer than the fine frosted material that my other Shapeways models were made from.  The finish is slightly grainy or gritty, with maybe the texture of 280-320 grit sandpaper.  I suspect that much of that grit will be lost in the painting process.

Here a few photos of the raw models.

Sorry that the last pic is out of focus, but both my phone and camera died after taking a total of seven photos.  It is a comparison shot of the SNAFU/Shapeways and Scotia Mi-2 models.  The Shapeways model appears to be equipped with a rocket pod on each side, but the sizing and shape is surprisingly close.

I have to say that overall, I am pretty happy with the models, though have some concern about how brittle the material might be.  The models are sold without any kind of rotors, and are one piece as depicted in the photos.  I'm hoping to have a painted example to share by the end of the weekend.

Monday, November 30, 2020

A Productive Holiday Weekend

I managed to get a fair amount done over the holiday weekend, finishing more 6mm buildings, some 15mm Vehicles that will see action in WWII, African imagi-nations, and the Cold War, plus making a little progress on the latest batch of 6mm aircraft.

First off are the 6mm buildings; here are  three more from GameCraft:

And five more from Leven Miniatures;

Then there are some 15mm JSU-152s, SU-100s, and SU76s from Gaming Models:

Oh, and that QRF Vasilek mortar that I posted about a few posts back.

And while not complete, the 6mm aircraft are in process on the production line:

They don't look much different from the last post, but the jets have gone from bare metal casting to being primed with bare metal base-coat, so trust me, progress is being made. 

Painting them will probably take me through the end of next weekend, which should be close to the time that I receive some more decals from Flight Deck Decals to complete these.

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Few 6mm Buildings Done and Aircraft Started

 I've actually been working of several things over the last few days; some 15mm late war Soviet and US stuff for use in my Africa imagi-nation and WWII games, more 6mm aircraft for the Cold War, and I finished a few 6mm buildings, also for Cold War games.  

I have a about a dozen more 1950s aircraft to finish, and figured i'd get a start on some of the 1960s stuff, while wrapping up the older aircraft.  Mostly just cleaning, assembling, and pinning thus far.

1950s and 1960s vintage aircraft in various stages of preparation.

And here's a few buildings completed.  The current batch is mostly from Levin Miniatures with a couple from GameCast mixed in.

I've got another half dozen or so to finish in this batch, then will move on to some of my own castings of  WWII French and Belgian houses that I made some time back.  

Not a lot to show, but it is keeping me busy at the moment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Solo Wargaming and the Campaign Journal

After wargaming with miniatures for around 20 years, and as it became harder for my group to meet regularly, I reached a point where solo wargaming became more appealing.  As I started to play solo more often, I found that I enjoyed the ease and freedom that comes with solo gaming.  This really surprised me, despite having gamed solo off and on since my start in the hobby.  I had never considered solo gaming an important part of the hobby, probably because I almost always had readily available opponents.

Though I would occasionally find gamers at conventions and whatnot, whose gaming style was not necessarily compatible with my own, I have been lucky in that the regular members of the groups that I typically gamed with were always quite enjoyable.  This is probably why I had never given serious consideration to solo gaming.  

As I mentioned above, as the years passed, it became harder for us to meet with the obligations of home, family, and career reducing the available time, and particularly in my case, the energy, to game regularly.  As multi-player games lasting late into the evening became less frequent, I began to tinker with solo games that might involve only 20 minutes to an hour of play and span several evenings.

Early on in my gaming, I came to embrace and enjoy the campaign, where the actions of one battle had implications in the next.  Unfortunately, campaigns are complex beasts to try to tame, and in my first decade of "serious" miniatures gaming, I only played in one full blown campaign that ran to conclusion.   

After a year or so of solo gaming, I came up with this idea for a mini campaign set in the Soviet-Afghan War, where a Soviet soldier is captured and begins to fight with the Mujaheddin.  His capture was with purpose as he was the son of a senior Soviet officer, and the original idea was that he would have some value in trade back to the Soviets.

I quickly began experimenting with loose campaign rules that evolved on the fly, and to allow the dice to direct the path of future games.  Instead of rigidly following the course of the original idea, he ended up fighting with, and eventually leading Afghans in battle.  I found need for character development, and for more characters in the form of leaders and officers.  I also found that I enjoyed this theatrical sort of semi-role playing element in the game, an extension or expansion of my tendency to immersively role play my forces in most games.  The campaign ended when he was killed during a Soviet attempt to capture him and bring him to justice.

At this time, I had a web site, and briefly considered sharing the campaign with others through my site, but I knew that in reality, the "story" lacked integrity.  There were a lot of very American actions by not very American soldiers.  I had a lot of fun with it, and explored new avenues of gaming, but the actual campaign lacked wasn't completely true to itself.  

I realize that any attempt to step into character within a game is a very subjective experience, but one can be more or less subjective, and I didn't try very hard to objectively "play" the cultural roles in these games.  What I did do was develop a concept that would become the basis for my African imagi-nation campaign a couple of years later.

Since that time, I've slowly worked on a series of campaign ideas that branch off from the original concept in varying ways.  My post-apoc campaign approaches the game map and narrative in a different way from my African campaign. The Cold War campaign that I've been working on most recently will be structured very differently from the first two campaigns.  I have additional ideas for a colonial campaign, set in China and the south Pacific, based on my old "Ponape" colonial games, and a WWII campaign inspired mostly by the book Company Commander.  Each will be a little different in approach from the others.

When I started my Cold War era African imagi-nation campaign, I had first envisioned writing a journal telling the story of the war through a series of after action reports (AAR) of the battles, maybe with a smattering of short stories offering background.  This was to be just for myself, as I had come to realize that I quite enjoyed this sort of thing with my Soviet-Afghan War experiment.

Shortly after starting my African campaign, I began a gaming blog, and though it took a little time to convince myself, I finally shared the first AAR of my campaign.  Very much to my surprise, it was relatively well received.  To be honest, I was quite shocked by the interest, and despite having really enjoyed a couple of somewhat similar efforts by other gamers (especially this) on their web sites, I completely expected my effort to be some combination of ignored and/or belittled.

It has now been something like thirteen years since starting my African campaign, and it slowly continues, with a series of new twists awaiting attention at this moment.  And, as mentioned above, I have added other campaigns to my gaming, set in other periods or genres of interest, varying mechanics of both campaigns and the manner of sharing them in each case.

In the last few years, I've become somewhat nostalgic about my own adventure in the hobby, and more recently, fascinated with the origins of miniatures gaming and the early efforts and accomplishments of the "founding fathers" of the hobby.  

Last year I picked up a couple of Don Featherstone's books and read them with great interest, being most impressed by the quality of some of the games presented in images from those days.  More recently, I've picked up some of John Curry's titles addressing the efforts of Tony Bath, Lionel Tarr, and Michael Korns.

Given the main focus of my interests and solo playing style, I relate most closely to the efforts of Lionel Tarr, but maybe the thing that has struck me as most interesting is in Featherstone's "Solo Wargaming", and that is the discussion of the campaign journal or diary.

In some ways, my blog posts following my African campaign are the fruits of re-inventing this wargaming wheel, but some of the suggestions in Solo Wargaming are of far greater wisdom and scope than my own effort, addressing use of the journal or diary as a tool in the conduct of the campaign.  Through the recording of notes and pre-battle planning, the journal becomes a tool, an active element in the campaign.

I have a folder of notes with many of these details from my African campaign, but they are in the form of abstract notes, tables, and scraps.  It never occurred to me to weave all of these bits into a a cohesive story of the game itself, broader than simply telling stories of the battles.  I might go back and do so, as much as I am able, though knowing that some parts of the process are simply lost, undocumented or discarded.

In retrospect, I wish I had recorded (somewhere, if not my blog) the thought process in building the campaign, the background and story-line, and some of the missed opportunities and prospective possibilities that didn't or haven't come to pass.  It might have been interesting in retrospect, whether for nostalgic purpose or pragmatic, to follow the evolution of my campaign(s). 

Expanding on the concept of the journal or diary, I also wish that I had kept a sort of log or maybe scrapbook of my gaming adventures from day one.  It would be interesting to look back at thoughts and images of those first efforts as I tried to first imagine rules for toy soldiers, and then those after I had been introduced to basic gaming concepts already created by those before me.

I may yet attempt to pull something together, allowing me to look back on it in ten or twenty years, but it won't be the same as visiting the thoughts of that 13,15 or 20 year old gamer, who spent much time trying to invent a hobby that others had already created.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

World War III 1958 - First Counter Sheet

I haven't had much time to work on it over the last two weekends, so its not nearly complete yet, but here's the first counter sheet for the 1958 version of World War III in Germany:

So far I've only worked on ground forces and I need to go back and make some adjustments and correct a couple of typos, but overall I'm pretty happy with the results.  

The counters display the army, corps, or other groupings that they are assigned to in the upper left, for example, the Soviet 8th guards Army would  be indicated by "8G" in the top left.  The actual division or brigade number and type is listed in the top right, "11G TD" identifies the 11th Guards Tank Division. I went with primary vehicle silhouettes, rather than the military symbol to visually identify the unit, as it will better capture the period for me, and the bottom three numbers are the attack, defense, and proficiency ratings.

With any luck, I'll have the NATO ground forces roughed out today as well. Slow progress, but progress none the less.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

15mm T64 and Vasilek Mortar by QRF

I recently received a few more models from QRF, primarily a bunch of T64s and an 82mm Vasilek automatic mortar. 

I already had three T64As, but ordered seven more to round out a company.  The beautifully painted model on the QRF site looks pretty good, but I figured that I'd share a photo of a bare metal model which is still a pretty good looking model..

I also received my first 2B9 82mm Vasilek 82mm automatic mortar.  I ordered just the one, as the photo on the site looked quite nice, but  I was concerned about the number of parts and how much struggle it would be to assemble.  

The model is very nice and finely detailed, and I believe it consists of nine pieces. I wasn't real familiar with the contraption, so I looked up some photos of the it on the net, and it made sense pretty quickly.  I canted the axle backwards a little, which I wouldn't have done, had I not seen pics of the actual weapon.  It also appears that the trails rotate from a horizontal orientation when in tow, to the vertical when deployed (at least on some units), which confused me a little.  Here are a couple of pics of the assembled model,which I hope might be helpful to others.

Since it turned out to be pretty easy to assemble, I'm going to order a couple more of them, to give my Soviets something to annoy my Afghans with.

Given that some of my recent orders from other companies during the age of Covid-19 have been rough rides and/or a bit slow, I want to mention that QRF did a really nice job of packing the models, as the postal system positively beat the crap out of the package with no harm coming to the models, and the turn around time was quite short.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Terrain Maps for the Third World War in Germany 1958

When I first started considering playing out battles of the third world war set in 1958 (or there about), one of my first thoughts was that West Germany probably looked a bit different in 1958, than it did in say... 1982.  Where in the heck would I get maps depicting the roads and extent of development around 1958?

After some searching, I discovered that 1:25,000 military maps of Germany, both West and East, were available online from Brigham Young University at:  You'll have to play around with the interface, but all of the maps are available for download.

These will allow me to make terrain as detailed as I might want or need for my games.  In experimenting with scaling and cropping maps to match my table size in scale, I've come to realize that my generic modular terrain can't replicate the actual German road and terrain network with a high degree of accuracy.  The road networks were simply too dense, and the topography in some areas, too complex.

In the end, I'll probably make a fair number of new terrain panels to replicate places of particular interest, and otherwise just live with some compromises between my existing terrain and reality.  

Monday, October 26, 2020

My Painting Table Is Under There Somewhere

Sunday, I finally found some time to get down to the basement to work on some fig.  This is what found waiting for me (well almost). I didn't think to take a photo right away, at this point, I had already spent minutes just to clear a little space to the right so that I had somewhere to work.

I think I owe my painting table an apology.  This is not the job it applied for.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

1958 Cold War Campaign Progress

Despite my day job's attempts to relieve me of  all of my free time, this week I managed to make tremendous progress on the strategic side of my Cold War campaign.  I managed to work out unit values for most 1958 units based on the system presented in the old GDW The Third World War (TTWW) game, which will function as the framework for my campaign.  In the process, I worked the stats out for all four periods in which I hope to game the Cold War, so the later games will come with a little less preparation.

Next week I hope to create the counters for the game, and fill in some of the gaps that I am aware of.  I still haven't decided if I am going to keep the traditional military unit symbols on the counters, or switch over to vehicle silhouettes on the counters.  I'm thinking that the vehicle silhouettes will keep my mind more in line with the period,i.e., thinking M47 and M48 during play, rather than M60A3 and M1.

The current plan is to start the campaign on the TTWW map, selecting interesting battles to play in miniature, while playing out other less interesting or repetitive battles with the counters on the boardgame map.  

I plan to use old 1950s vintage US Army maps of Germany to layout the tactical situations to set up on my table.  This will involve plotting tactical movement of the units represented on the TTWW map on the US Army maps, and then playing out the miniature battles generated on the Army maps.

I'll need to develop a system of translating combat losses to units on the big map, to actual equipment losses to units on the small map.  I have some ideas, but need to get farther along on this, before working out the details.

Now I'm off to the basement to actually work on some miniatures.  After trying to clean up my game table, my painting table is over-flowing again.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Tribulations of Setting Up the Third World War in 1958

Over the last week, I've been trying to wrap my head around setting up the strategic game for a world war set in the Germanys of 1958, and I've been struggling a bit.  Despite all of my research, there are many holes in my info, and I'm at the point, where I have to bite the bullet, and just make some decisions to move ahead.

One of the things that I'm doing is creating a 1958 version of GDW's The Third World War, which at the moment involves sorting a lot info, filling in gaps, and deciding how far I want to go with board game design (not something that I'm really interested in).

A second issue that I've been addressing is the differences in my alternate history with respect to available forces, resources/technology, and changes to politics.  With the premise being that the US leads an attack on East Germany with intent to unify East and West, and put the USSR in "its place", I constantly struggle with my real world view that NATO never could have pulled this off.

Trying to sell myself on the idea that a more hard-line Soviet leadership could catalyze a more "McCarthian" movement in the US, and that it could get (enough of) its NATO allies to make it happen, has been more problem than expected.  I have to keep reminding myself that it is a fictional game.  

While the purpose was to create a framework for a series of linked and interdependent miniatures battles, I keep getting lost in the real world politics of the day (or at least, what little I know of it).  A big "just go with it" is the US convincing West Germany that the only way to avoid a war in the west is to invade the East.

Other issues involve France being concerned enough with the Soviets to draw attention and forces away from their African problem, and then there is the the problem of the UK economically supporting/surviving a war, and so on.  I also struggle badly with the idea that the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada would be willing to get sucked up into the American Red Menace craziness.

Other challenging considerations include having understanding of the Soviet limitations of the day.  They don't have many nukes, or at least not a lot of good ways to deliver them.  Really just a handful of Scuds, and bombers that would take a pounding.  Oh some would get through, and each one that did would have a tremendous "impact', but there probably would not be a lot of repeat offenders.  And though I really want to play a conventional war, I have to accept that the "Atomic Battlefield" was the American plan of the day.

So right now, I've mostly distracted myself with deciding what forces are available, inventing some units to fill in my informational gaps, and creating 1958 vintage counters for all of the forces involved. 

While working on all of this, in the back of my mind is the thought that it could all go wrong (like any version of a third world war could be things going right?), and instead of months of Cold War miniatures games, I find that the game ends in a couple of days with nuclear apocalypse, or that Pentomic divisions were such a bad idea that the Soviets are in Normandy faster than I can say, "Red Menace".

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Couple 28mm Post Apoc Buildings

Well, the good news is that my blog will survive. the bad news is that I now have to use two computers to compose a single post.  I love progress.

Anyway, here are a few pics of two 28mm buildings that I've been working on over the last three weeks.  The first is an old adobe house, which still needs a layer of dust, but is table ready otherwise.

The second is a sort of shanty that I made good progress on earlier today.  The roof still needs painted and I need to add a couple of tarps to the roof, but it is coming along.

These are the first two buildings for a town that will serve as a sort of center of the action for many of my scenarios.  I hope to keep plopping out one of these buildings every couple of weeks through December.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Some Hope for My Blog and Other Odds and Ends

 I still can't post blog photos from my computer, but did a little experimenting with a friend's computer, and found that the photo up-loader seems to work there.  So, I'm going to try to resurrect my wife's old laptop and see if I can work on my blog from it.  First though,  I need to locate a charger and a new battery.

Recently, I've been doing a little work on new 28mm post-apoc settlement buildings and hope to share pics over the next week.  They will mostly be a collection of adobe houses and shanties made of junk.  Additionally, I plan to update some of my older sci-fi buildings for use in the post apocalypse to add to the settlement.

Last weekend, I stumbled onto a wonderful little used book store that had some old miniatures gaming books and rules sets.  Books date to the 1960s and include titles by Featherstone and Grant, and rules span a period from the late 1970s to the about 1990.  You can find the various titles in the history section at BookMarx books.  There were maybe 30 titles on the shelf related to historical miniatures gaming.  I picked up a copy of Featherstone's Solo Wargaming  to continue my exploration of hobby history.

On the New Arrivals front, I recently received an order from Mad Puppet Miniatures, a few 32mm old west ad post apoc figs, which are on my paint table and hope to share soon.  The figures are made of resin, and beautifully detailed and cast.   Shipping from Spain to the US was a little slow, but that is to be expected given the world situation. 

I also received a few more 6mm Cold War infantry from Heroics and Ros, a few Soviets and some more East Germans to round out a few units. These are the newer sculpts, which are lovely miniatures, and shipping time was relatively short, so it looks like H&R is up and running pretty smoothly again.

That's about it for now.  Stay safe out there.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

I think My Blog May Be Dead

Well, after spending some time attempting to load photos with "The New Blogger", I have discovered that I cannot.  If I drag and drop, I eventually get an empty "photo box" in my post that disappears completely when I move the cursor.

The uploader consistently take several minutes to load (like 12 minutes or more), and the photo selection never displays in the uploader window (43kb jpg file).  If I select the blank image box in the uploader window, I get the little "something is happening" thingy for several minutes, then it stops, the select button is de-selected, and no image ever appears.

Also, the legacy Blogger option has vanished.

I'll try again in a week or so and see what happens. 

Best of luck to everyone, stay healthy. out there.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

28mm Post-Apoc Diner and Billboard Update

During this past week, I finished my abandoned diner, and I also finally painted a roadside billboard that has been setting on my painting table for quite some time.

I still need to make a base with a parking lot for the diner, but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks, and work on several different terrain panels all at once, including a couple more road sections with driveways, some town/road sections, and maybe a little park.  

Here are the some pics of the diner:

I went back and forth about boarding up the windows, 
but figure the wood probably would have been scavenged early on, 
so left it off. 

I was concerned with how to do the roof, I ended up using 
320 grit sandpaper, and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

These utility shelves were a pain to make, 
but the room needed something.  I think they did the trick.

I made a number of tourist posters, advertising signs, a calendar, 
and some menus, but ended up not using most of them; it all just 
seemed like too much, and I figure most paper products would 
have vanished with time.

I'll probably eventually add more detail to the diner (nothing is ever really finished, is it?), but for now, the building is done.  As I mentioned above, I still need to make a base, and am working on the roadside sign.  I might add a couple of light poles for the parking lot as well.

This billboard is something that I made maybe a year or two back.  it has been waiting for paint ever since, and today was the day.

It is kind of an unwieldy piece, but I wanted some clutter that stood very upright off of the table, and this does that.  I'll going to add a couple smaller billboards of differing design with some signage still visible.  The figure is a Foundry 28mm Street Violence fig for scale.

Not a huge amount of work done this weekend, but I got a couple things off of my table, and got some paint on a dozen and a half figs also, so that isn't too bad.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Returning to the Abandoned Diner

Sometime back around Christmas, I think it was, I was working on a 28mm post-apocalypse diner, making good progress, when in between my work sessions, 
one of my cats knocked over my paint water, walked across my palette, and then through the diner and across the various bits, spreading paw shaped splats across the diner and bits.

I tried cleaning off the various "splattings" with partial success, but frustrated, decided to put the project aside for awhile, and come back to it later.

Well, it is later, and I starting "re-abandoning" the diner last weekend.  Originally, I had intended to work on Mama's farm, but about ten minutes into that, I found myself in a conundrum over whether to build it as a stand alone piece on a single base, or series of modular pieces that could have multiple uses.

Anyway, while mulling that debate, I made some progress on the diner, and here are a couple of pics.

As I work on the diner, or any of these pieces, I don't just build broken stuff, splat dirt, grime, and dust, etc, I try to imagine the story of the piece, of the abuse and decay.  I try to envision how the story of the place affected the decay and helped make it look like it does in the After.

I start out imagining it shiny and newly built in the early 1960's, how it passed through owners and remodelings,  the state of wear and disrepair at the time of closing, and how vandals, squatters and mother nature shaped it over the years since.

In any event, the diner is coming along, and will will give way to Mama's farm over the next few days with any luck.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Armaments in Miniature 15mm O-2, A-37, and OV-10

My latest order from Armaments in Miniature arrived a couple of days ago, and I received my 15mm, 1/100 scale 0-2 Skymasters, A-37 Dragonflies, and OV-10 Broncos.  Quite simply, they are perfect.  Absolutely beautiful resin castings with detailed panel lines, and each coming with various options for weapons and/or tanks.

Here are a few quick photos:

The Cessna O-2 Skymaster.

The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly

The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco

My photos don't do them justice, as my table was cluttered to permit setting up better pics at the moment, and I just wanted to get some photos out there.  

These are three beautiful models of a particularly unique group pf aircraft.  All either having curious histories and or features, and all designed for, or specified for service in Vietnam.

The O-2 also served in Europe, helping to keep watch over the Warsaw Pact, and remained in US reserve and ANG units until the late 1980s.  It has served the militaries of many other nations as well, and is ideal for third world air-forces and that of imagi-nations as well.

The A-37 served well in Vietnam and remained in US service with ANG units into the 1990s as FAC aircraft.  It also saw service in Panama, during operation Just Cause, and served with a number of South American air forces.  Aircraft captured during the fall of South Vietnam served the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's AF into the late 1970s, and a few examples were transferred to various nations of the Warsaw Pact.

The OV-10 Bronco is famous for its role in Vietnam, where it demonstrated its amazing flexibility, in addition to observation/FAC/ and light attack, convoy and helicopter escort, light transport, and could function in a variety of other rolls as well.  It had an internal cargo bay in the rear capable of mounting a trainable 20mm rotary cannon, 5 paratrooper, 6 soldiers, or two casualty litters and a medic.  On top of that, it just looks cool.

After Vietnam, the aircraft served in Europe with US forces in NATO, and  a small number of  OV-10s were outfitted with new electronics serving with the US Navy and Air Force in Iraq and Syria as recently as 2015.  Consideration was even given to opening a new line to build new aircraft.

Anyway, if you play Vietnam in 15mm, you need some of these models.  These aren't on his website yet, so you'll need to e-mail Dave to order them, but they are available at $15.00 each from Armaments in Miniature, fantastic models, fantastic service, and all at a great price.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Ramblings of August

I haven't posted much lately as I haven't been accomplishing much, despite my best effort.  My 6mm Cold War infantry have been painted for for a couple weeks, and most of my time since has gone to labeling and flocking 1200 or so stands of the little fellas  

Troops representing six nations over a span of 40 years.  
Yes, I need to add more.

Heroics & Ros new French Infantry for the war in 1982

To be honest, I haven't been able to get in a good rhythm with this, it is just so repetitive and doesn't feed my creative hunger.  But, they are all labeled and about 45 percent of the flocking is done.  I expect that I'll finish them this weekend, as I should will have a little more free time than usual.

GHQ 1980s US Infantry, curiously, 
they look a little smaller than GHQ's Vietnam era US troops.

As my 6mm Cold War project has hit a period of relative un-excitement, I've also been tinkering with my 28mm Post-Apoc game.  Last month I finally got three new factions organized, painted one, and ordered figs to wrap up two others.  In an effort to feed my creative hunger, I also designed some terrain associated with the factions, and expanded the back story to accompany them.   Unfortunately, my work table is occupied with thousands of 6mm Cold War infantry, so I have nowhere to build the terrain.

A battalion of Soviets from H&R, again newer sculpts, 
will serve in the 1978 to 1982 time-frame, in two different world wars.

As it turns out, the manufacturer for the post-apoc figs is MIA; they took my money and sent no figs, won't reply to e-mail, nothing.  My second order (different company) for bits associated with the newly designed terrain has gone the same route.  I guess given the world situation, these things are bound to happen.  I hope that the people on the other end of my orders are doing okay and staying well.

Luckily, I found a source on E-bay for a replacement for the most critical fig for one of my new factions, and the seller seems to be a stand-up guy, great comms and item arriving early and all, unfortunately my purchase, and someone else's got reversed, so I received some stuff I didn't order, and the fig that I ordered is lost somewhere out in the wastes,  poor little guy, even if he is destined to be a maniacal overlord.

One seriously bright spot in recent weeks was a reply to a e-mail that i had sent to Armaments in Miniature inquiring about some Vietnam era aircraft that Dave (you can e-mail him at has been working on.  As it turns out AIM has three new 15mm (1/100) scale models available; the OV-10, the A-37, and the O-2.  As the OV-10 is maybe my all-time favorite military aircraft, and the Dragonfly isn't far behind, I was quite excited.  Still am.   I immediately ordered two each of the OV-10 Broncos and the A-37s, and a single O-2 "Mixmaster" at $15.00 each.  You will need to e-mail about these models, as he simply hasn't had time to update his website.

If you haven't seen any of Dave's work, his models are among the most finely detailed and cast models, that I've ever seen.  Simply beautiful work, and perfect quality.  Dave mentioned that he has decals for the models  (Black Ponies for the OV-10), though I didn't order them, as my Broncos and Mixmaster will serve in Europe in the 1970s , and I still haven't chased down the markings that I'll need for the 601 Tactical Observation Wing (or whichever variant of the name it was using during the years of service of these aircraft).

My A-37s are intended to serve in my fictional African campaign, so I've already made up decals for those.  Though I guess they could arrive as part of an intervention force, its not written in stone yet.

Anyway, my AIM order will be shipped next week, and I'll post some pics of the models as soon as I received them.  it will be good to have a little boost for my 15mm Col War project.  It has been lingering a bit, as the infantry that I was depending on have become unavailable.

Enough rambling for now, I'm off to the dungeon; its time to flock. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Only Five More To Go

I had another productive weekend with 151 stands of French, West german, and British troops completed, and now have only 5 of 47 6mm infantry companies left to paint.  I'm wrapping it up with the British, as I struggled for quite some time, trying to decide how to paint the DPM uniforms, and have saved them for last.  

I ended up giving up on 6mm camouflage uniforms, opting instead to try to decide on the color they generally assume at such a distance that you cannot distinguish the camo pattern.  This has resulted in rather bland infantry, but then again, the goal is to get these on the table before I'm not around anymore.

Anyway, here is a pic of some of the British on my painting table, a busy place of late.  The bigger figs on the right are 28mm post-apoc factions waiting for a few stragglers to arrive in the mail.

Hoping to be done with infantry this weekend, then moving on to a few buildings.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Vallejo (and Other Paint) Observations (and Frustrations)

A hobby rant follows:

So I guess this all stems back to 1983, when I started using ModelMaster enamel paints on micro-armor.  Somewhere around 1994 I noticed that my Soviet tanks, all painted Medium Green, were nearly as many shades of green as I had Russian tanks.   The colors were everywhere, some colder, some warmer, some darker, some lighter, again, all painted the "same" color, ModelMaster Medium Green.  I was quite surprised at ModelMasters quality control, or lack there of.

Not too long after that, Vallejo paints made their way onto my paint bench, and I switched over to 894 Russian Green.  It was reasonably close to some of my earliest MM medium green tanks, and I just went with it, without much concern for the overall accuracy of the color.  What I wanted was consistency, with the expectation that I could match the color from the same manufacturer 5, 10, or 20 years down the road.

Now this was naive of me, as I had already seen the disappearance of the Polly-S, Humbrol, and Pactra's Military lines of paints, but I was still young enough (and hopeful enough), that I expected some stability in the product lines.

I never used many of the old Humbrol's, and only a selection of the Pactra Military's, more of a loss was the transition of Polly-S to Polly Scale.  At least there, colors were still available in some cases (I just used up the last of my Polly-S Light Yellow about two weeks ago).  There was more frustration over the Polly-S change, but the ModelMaster inconsistency really caught me by surprise, so I went heavy into Vallejo after giving it the initial try, and reading a lot of good stuff about it.  

Flash twenty some odd years later, and I find myself in a similar situation with Vallejo.  It started a couple of years (or so) back, when I discovered that my 894 Russian Green, had become 894 Cam. Olive Green with a slight change in color.  More recently, I've noticed a bunch of changes if names and/or colors, which I'm guessing has been all over the model forum for some time, but I don't frequent any of those, so I'm whining about it here.

Earlier this year, I had trouble finding a new bottle of Vallejo 887 Brown Violet, after some time, my local shop finally got in some new bottles of 887 US Olive Drab.  The color seemed to match pretty well when dry, just the name was particularly different.

More recently, I changed over to newer bottles of 890 Reflective Green and  892 Yellow Olive, neither of which changed names, but the colors are noticeably different.  One bottle of Reflective Green is much yellower than the other, and the same is true of the Yellow Olive.  The last of the recent bunch is 889 Olive Drab, which is now 889 Olive Brown and is much darker and less green.

I remember years ago on TMP, when during a discussion about how many paints we had (many were in the 100s of bottles), member Scurvy Bartella made a comment that he had relatively few paints, and basically that we all needed to learn to mix colors.  At that time, I often added figures 5, 10, 15 years after painting the original figs for an army, sometimes many hundreds of figs (multiple times even), and preferred being able to save time and match from a bottle, whenever possible.  It is faster and more convenient.  To me, this didn't seem like an outrageous request or expectation. 

ModelMaster's pseudo demise with the sale to Rustoleum (who I have been in touch with, and who doesn't seem to know what it is doing), has been frustrating as I depended on the enamels for specific applications, where acrylics were less favorable, or not well suited.  This has also increased my dependence on Vallejo, which now seems to be in the same boat as the other hobby paints before them.

I know that there are other brands out there, but my needs are such that the internet isn't fast enough, particularly with respect to work projects, where something comes to me in the morning, and has to leave that afternoon.  It is equally frustrating with respect to hobby projects, as I usually find that I have hobby time, at the moment that I find myself with hobby time.

Not sure what I'm going to do at the moment.  The local shop invested in a Vallejo rack, but has had trouble getting new stock  almost since the day they bought the rack.  I hate to drop the line from use, and turn my back on the local guy, but not being able to depend on consistency and availability is a problem for me, both personally and professionally.

I'm considering switching to a line that I have to order over the net in hopes of relieving the consistency problem, but that will increase the availability problem.    I find it funny in the age of technology and instantaneous gratification that I have a much harder time finding paint, glues, brushes, plastics and virtually all sorts of hobby supplies, than at any time since the late 1970s.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the bottles, showing the differences. 

887 Uesd to be Brown Violet

Differences in Yellow Olive
 and Reflective Green

The Change to Olive Brown and
difference in 894, formerly
Russian Green

Rant over.

And on a side note, I did mange to paint 119 stands of 6mm US Cold War infantry this weekend.  Cold War progress continues.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Busy Weekend for a Change (6mm Soviets)

It's funny how it comes and goes; for weeks I get almost nothing done, then this past weekend,  I painted 272 stands of 6mm infantry.   Soviets, spanning the 1958-1982 time frame.  Not much to look at, but amounts to about a third of the Cold War infantry that I yet needed to paint.

They still need flocked, but the paint is done on them.  Next will be East Germans, then US forces, the next largest group of figs.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Four Weeks, Six Figures

Yup, took me four weeks to paint six figures.  At this rate, I only need 220 or so more years of lock-down to finish my figs.  

Anyway, here's what I got, a few figs from another post apocalypse faction, "Mama's Crew".   Mama runs a farm, and along with a few women of the wastes, takes care of some children of the wastes.  You'll be seeing more of her in the future.

Top photo above, "Mama" (the first fig) is "Madge" from Hasslefree, and the other two are are from Brigade Games Post Apoc line, I think named "Helga" and Poppet".

Bottom photo, the first two are also from Brigade Games, and the last is a Hasslefree fig I believe.

And here are the kids:

There were painted sometime back, the first four are from Hasslefree, the last from Leading Edge, I think.

Now I need to grow some miniature crops.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hobby Progress a Little Slow, But Steady

As work has ramped up, my hobby time has decreased greatly, being limited mostly to a little weekend work.  I've been basing and priming the Cold War infantry with, more or less, 48 company sized formations with some additional supporting stuff based, and about 30 of them primed at this point.  They don't look like much, but they take up a lot of space on my table.

Otherwise, I've been slowly painting a few figs for my post apocalypse, but nothing to really show there yet.  I also received a few figs from Black Scorpion.  My first order with them went smoothly and the resin figs are beautiful.  They are 32mm, and stand a little large among my mostly 28mm stuff, but not too bad since most of the 28mm stuff is over-sized a bit anyway.

One post-apoc fig and some old west stuff; they will all serve in my post-apoc gaming.  The old west figs will get a touch of  post-apoc-ness added to them, and will be part of a new faction.  I still need one fig crucial to the the new faction, and once found and finished, look forward to getting in a few post-apoc games.