Friday, March 28, 2014

Hotlead AAR and New goodies

Hotlead wrapped up last Sunday.  it was a good con this year. according the the Con Chairman's AAR, the con saw a rise in games to 70, from about 55ish last year. the Bring and Buy did around 18000 in sales, which means the Con's cut of 1800 will be donated to charities(Scouts and cadet groups in the con's region.).  Sunday as especially surprising.  I've never seen a convention so busy  on a Sunday!  here is a link for Jame's Manto's AAR for more detailed breakdown and pics!

Martin making a deal while i give James(behind the camera)
2 thumbs up!
  I went up with J&M miniatures and helped out at the booth most of the weekend.  they also had a good weekend from the looks of it.   James and Martin attribute it to being present all 3 days, and having a better selection of merchandise.

Overhead view of my Con Game: The battle of Kulm.

My napoleonic game went quite well.  despite the previous table users taking up about half my setup period taking down there, and the resulting late start. we finished the game in 2.5 hours.  pretty good, considering the game involved 600 infantry 128 cavalry and 27 guns on the table with 8 players.  the Russians/Austrians won but just barely. i was a little bit worried initially as the french took a beating initially, but they came back to almost even up the army morale chits before finally succumbing to the allied onslaught.  Thanks go out to Mike Garner and Jon Holmes for helping me GM the game. the pics below are courtesy of Mike Garner, as I completely forgot to take pictures(as usual)


finally my favourite part, the spoils.  as seen below i picked up a great deal of terrain as the majority of  purchases over the weekend(all 28mm where aplicable). I bought  from 4ground an ECW/renaissance Cottage and shop, a Saxon/Medieval dwelling, a water cart, and 3 packs of walls. I also picked up anther box of Perry Napoleonic Russians(still need one more to finish off the 26th division)  a box of Wargames factory Viking Huscarls, and a copy of Dux Britnarium.  I also picked up a broken resin bridge for really cheap, and finally took delivery of an army group north KV with 3 turrets to make KV1/40, /42, and KV2.  this was bought 3 years ago, but has been sitting in our friends basement ever since.  There is also a bag of loose GW LOTR miniatures. 5 metal war riders including Sharku, and 25 odd metal dwarf warriors and bowman. Not pictured are the Xwing purchases of the  Imperial aces box, an Awing, a TIE advanced, and a HWK-290.

 the 4ground walls seem like they are expensive, but these 3 packs got me enough walls to do an 18x18" walled area with 2 gates, and even  destroyed wall ends if I so choose.  I paid 40 dollars for them, and the closest comparable product is something like Acheson Creations wattle and timber set which is a 12x9 area for the same price. and they are rather nice walls too.

close up of 4ground wall corners which are really nice.

Incidentally, I have some 28mm TAG Iraqis for sale that I did not sell at Hotlead.  there are 4 groups of 8 iraqi regulars, 2 groups of 8 republican guard(in the 3 tone camo)1 group of 4 snipers and command,  and 4 groups of 8 fedayeen. I'm selling these at $40USD per group of 8 + shipping. if you are  interested  email me at crucible_orc*AT*sympatico*DOT*ca

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Built up areas for Kulm

So yesterday I put the finishing touches on 2 extra built up areas for my Battle of Kulm.  building

Grand Manner Building seen previously, now based.

One is a you might have already scene, just on a base like the rest of my buildings.  the second is my friend Dan's building(from foreground), but i needed a fifth built up area so I borrowed his building  and based it up as well.

closer shot from a different angle, with Perry Russian officer.
Each picture also features a newly painted Russian officer for the game.  the first is a perry Russian officer. the perry mounted officers are splendid figures all around. i just wish there were more then 3.

4ground building, courtesy of Dan.
 the officer pictured with Dan's building is Front Rank's  iteration of Barclay de Tolly. this is a figure I've had for several years, and one of my favorite officers. he looks so polite. I repainted him recently since he was repainted before i learned a lot of my current techniques.

4ground building Close up, with
Front Rank Barclay de Tolly Figure
 I was really impressed by the quality of the 4ground building. the pictures on line really don't do them justice. The roof needs a touch up or 2 where it joins the house(not done yet) but other then  that they are excellent quality.

Still more to come before i leave for HotLead. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

IHMN: Lord Curr's Company

I finished off Lord Curr's company for IHMN last night to finish
 up my current painting commission.  this will be dropped off the the client at Hotlead this coming weekend.

Lord Curr, Lady Felicity, "Mad Mick" Macfarlane, Mohan Siagh

Lord Curr's Incorrigibles

More of the Incorrigibles

Additional figures that look like they would
fit in with the Scotland yard team.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another ACW game

2 weeks ago we got another game in of ACW at my Friend Martin's.  you may suspect the game looks similar in setup an layout to the last game of ACW I posted about, and you would be correct.  we were trying my heavily modified version of Field of Battle(which we jokingly refer to as Meadow of Warfare), and comparing it with the last set we used, which was Foundry's "Bull Run to Gettysburg".

Dan holding the Light for better pictures. Thanks Dan!
 In this iteration of the scenario, instead of the union dominating combat and movement, the confederate forces charged across the field with stunning speed.  the union didn't even get a good deal of their guns unlimbered in time for the first wave.

the main action

The game was from then on a fairly balanced affair.  at one point shortly before the game ended the confederate forces took a significant lead and reduced the Union morale points to zero.  this doesn't mean an automatic army breaking in the system however. you have to wait for an army morale card to come up.  this forces both sides to continue playing fairly and making a quick rush for that last morale point to break the enemy.

Fighting for an empty field, Oh the humanity!

with the confederate having used all their cards, the advantage switched to the union, who managed to just barely reduce the confederate morale point to zero  with co-ordinated fire just as the turn end.  the next turn saw the confederates draw their army morale card fairly early and rout off the table! Huzzah! the union held on just long enough.

we really enjoyed his game. the card  decks determine the "turn" sequence. although it doesn't feel like a turn at all. the game takes on a very fluid way to the action and turns are indistinguishable.

Union sharp shooters fall back against a hard confederate push.

We also really enjoyed that the army not breaking once army morale is at zero, but rather at a random moment determined by the playing of a card to be an interesting mechanic.  It makes the players continue to play as if nothing is wrong to get the enemy back before the break.  the unpredictability of it also means that no one can "game" the system to break the enemy just before he breaks with one last push in a certain area.  I have done that in Maurice to my friend Dan. he had wiped out a flank and was about to beat me, but my hurried cavalry push on the flank broke him first.

The main changes i made to the system was the combat mechanic. I tossed out the opposed die rolls for attack die vs defense die, with changing die types.  now units have a set number  for defense based on their quality.  every multiple of 3 above that number you get is a hit. I also made it so that in close combat, both sides take 1 damage point automatically.  I also allowed it so hat all unit may engage in melee as soon as they contact during movement. eliminating the need for the melee card. as well, you can maneuver during movement free now. however i left the maneuver card in as it can be useful for unlimbering and changing formation, etc.  I've also modified the shooting rules so that even when smoke is on your unit(ie you are "not loaded") you can still give closing fire to unit charging you, albeit at greatly reduced base effectiveness.  this eliminates the big issue I had with field of battle where 4 cavalry unit charge across the field at a single unit, but only one of them takes any damage from fire.  

For con games(like my big 12-player battle of Kulm next weekend at Hotlead) I add in an extra movement card and an extra "reload" card to keep things lively.

I still have a few things to put the final touches on for next weekend, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rivers part 3: Finished

tuesday a applied the  super-thick gloss Gel medium to the rivers. the gel dries faster then I anticipated, but in thicker areas, it takes up to 3 days to go completely transparent. most of it however took a mere 12 hours to dry.

last night a took some pictures of the finished rivers.

Birds Eye View of rover set up on table

River from a more reasonable angle, with a figure from last
years Convention game last-minute painting marathon

close-up of river surface
I also laid it out on my living room floor to confirm I had enough for my convention game.  Despite all the twists and turns, when all was laid and done, I had an extra 3 feet.

I'm keen to do some ponds and such, although I think I'll use the regular thickness  Gel medium when i do.

I still have 3 groups of things to do over the next few weeks.  i nee to paint my Russian artillery,  make a few more field s with removable inner areas, and i need to finish up the current batch of commissioned pulp figures. i have 2 weeks. that should be more then enough time...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wading into Rivers Pt 2

Today I continued my river project buy painting the sand and then painting the river. the process is so far on track, and i am pleased with the results.

River banks have been painted and dry brushed

after the river has been painted.

the river consists of 16 feet of river including 2  fords and a T section.   on top of that there are 2 90 degree sections, 2 45 degree section 2 30 degree small wedges and 3 larger 30 degree sections.

the next step is to apply the the gloss acrylic gel medium. with this i will add small ripples and such to give the river a final texture and gloss. after that has dried i can flock the river and pack it into a box for transportation on sunday.

the acrylic medium will take a few days to dry so I'll post again then.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wading in to rivers. Pt 1

At the end of the month I'm off to Hotlead , a convention in Stratford, Ontario.  I'll be running a  large napoleonic game on a 12x5' table, using a heavily modified version of Field of Battle(1.0). I've removed what i saw as the greatest flaws in the system(such as extreme randomness), while retaining the things I feel make it great, one of which is the card system.

anyway, I realized for the specific scenario I picked, i need roughly 17 feet of rivers. now I have been thinking of  making a modular river system to go with the teddy bear fur mat I have made(I want to make another without integral roads, but have been somewhat stymied by finding a source with a big enough piece for a reasonable price).  I was having some trouble deciding how to make the actual river, as i have many times over the last 20 years.  then I saw a video on youtube which i no longer seem able to find. it displayed a number of ways to get a water effect, including using acrylic medium gel.  so I decided to get it done, and set about maing 17 feet of rivers plus curved sections.

I laid out 2 pieces of 2x2' MDF, and 1  1x1' piece of MDG, and started drawing.  i decided in a common base width and a river width, and started measuring and drawing.  I made sure all the joints have the same distances of base edge-to-bank and  bank-to-bank distances the same across all pieces. I then cut all the pieces out Saturday afternoon.

river cut up into 2foot sections.  only 3 of these were left this long.

other smaller and curved sections
Sunday afternoon/evening(it took longer then I had anticipated) I  began building up the banks with LePage interior/exterior pigmentless wood filler.  then this afternoon I began gluing sand down to all the banks. took about 2 hours today, finishing up right around 8pm.

River sections, all with wood filler applied, and all but 2 with sand glued down.

Later tonight I will do some painting of the banks, and tomorrow I'll paint the river, and maybe start applying the acrylic medium gel. depending on how heavy a coat I apply, it can take up to 4 or 5 days to completely dry.  I'm not planning on applying a thick coat, but I have another playtest this coming weekend, so I'm trying to leave enough time for a full cure.  although it will by dry to the touch in 24 hours no matter what.

Some people think I'm nuts for running a game at a con and to still be painting figures for the game this late in the game.  but I've made a habit out of it.  this time last year I still had only just finished  my teddy bear game mat for my Napoleonic Peninsular war Skirmish game at Hotlead.  and I had not yet finished painting all the forces.  last year I was playtesting the last 2 weeks and modifying the order of battle up until 2 days before the convention.  that's just how I roll!

More progress on the rivers to come!

*EDIT*  found the video i used on youtube. the bloke who made it posted on TMP which is how i found it again.  Link .