Last of the Gunfighters

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With the Concord grenadiers, I was able to get some time to do something–anything- different.  My go to is always some planes, so I reached in my box of many-unpainted-winged-objects and pulled out some F-8 Crusaders from Raiden.

These planes were given to me by George Kettler last year, and I really wanted to paint them for several reasons.  First they are are a sign of good faith to George that I truly appreciate his generosity.  There are many more to come, including some A-4F’s that are probably next on my agenda.

The Crusaders are also a down payment on my promise to paint planes for a Vietnam project.  I’ve changed my original intent to focus on just planes for Rolling Thunder (1965-68) to something more inclusive that will also include planes for the first Linebacker missions  (1972). What does that mean?  It means I can paint a wider variety of plane types for the both the Navy and the Air Force.  Of course that means painting more planes. Imagine that.

I already painted a handful of F-8’s for an earlier project-13 Days Goes Hot. The seven planes I painted this month were those I had.  I’d like to add one more to make an even eight.  I also decided I wanted to paint planes from the air wing of the U.S.S. Forrestal.  The late senator John McCain flew his A-4E from the deck of the Forrestal, and he was almost miraculously saved when he was caught in the middle of the infamous fire on that ship in 1967 that killed over 150 crewmen.

The Raiden Crusaders are among my favorite miniatures.  They are straight and very properly proportioned.  They do come with an annoying mold mark on the nose that must be filed or scraped off. But once that’s done, they are quite nice.

If I have a criticism of the model, it is that the canopy seems just a little too bubbly. Or, at least when I paint it, the canopy seems a a little too bubble shaped-not in a cartoonish way-instead of the sleek, nearly flat design I see in pictures.

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I painted my planes in the standard navy dress of the mid-1960’s. The overall upper surfaces were painted with Testor’s acrylic Gull Gray.  I used two coats, well-stirred, to get it to largely eliminated brush strokes. I tried to use Testor’s acrylic gloss white on the control surfaces and underside, and I just couldn’t get a decent cover, even with multiple coats.  I decided, after two coats of each to spray with Dullcote, and went back over the white surfaces with your basic Ceramcoat white, and re-painted with Vallejo gloss varnish.

I painted the canopy Ceramcoat ivory.  No, not some form of light blue.  Sorry that’s who I am. If you see planes on a board with ivory colored canopies, you’ll know it’s my junk. Nose and canopy bindings are basic cheap-ass craft black.

I chose to do the VF-103 Sluggers, assigned to the Forrestal from 1960-65.  I chose it primarily because the arrow markings on the tail were angular and paint-able, though I still managed to mess it up on some of the models.  I used Vallejo Deep Yellow for the main color, and followed up with black edging.  The AJ is also hand-painted, again, with mixed success.  In 1965, the Crusaders were joined in VF-103 with F-4B Phantoms, so I have a template for painting them, down the road.

U.S. national markings, and Navy markings are by Beacon publications,manufactured and sold by I-94 Enterprises.

Unfortunately, my planned Forrestal template is a little haywire because CV-59 was assigned to the Mediterranean from 1960-65, and switched to the USS Saratoga the same year.  Oh, well.

Overall, however, I’m pretty happy with how the little minis turned out.

 

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Grenadiers, ick

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Ack!  Enough already.  I think everyone paints something that makes them crazy and for me it’s British grenadiers of the American Revolution.  Red coats, bearskins and their front plates.  Straps on straps on straps, lace, facing colors brass buttons or silver. Spare me.

I have 36 figures to finish, ideally before March 23rd when we do our first Concord run through.  I have twelve figures about 85 percent complete.  I’m ready to slit my wrists. I’d rather paint an army of Philippine soldiers in rayadillo.

Maybe it is the deadline element.  Maybe it’s just that there are so many bits that need attention—like the musicians, I forgot to mention the musicians.  Gah!! Maybe it’s remembering how great the late Phil Bardsley’s grenadiers looked when we did our Guilford Courthouse project back at Enfilade II in 1992.  Great figures and mine . . . not so much.

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In any case, I’d almost rather be painting anything else.  Some F-8 Crusaders need my loving attention.  I have a dozen Philippine infantry all picked out-in rayadillo, of course.  It’s almost time to start painting some adversaries for the Philiippine Republic and I have those too.

One thing that I have learned from all this.  When I finish the 36 grenadiers, that will follow 36 light infantry and 72 militia figures, all for the Concord game.  I started working on these in Octoberish, and I think this is the last time I’ll paint for an Enfilade project.  Rather, I’ll continue painting troops for Daniel Mersey’s games, or Airwar C 21 or Regimental Fire and Fury, but the game will have to find what I have at hand, and we’ll call it good.

Insurrectos with Bolos

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The Great Puget Sound Snowpocalypse of 2019 played havoc with the school schedule, but it did contribute to progress on Smyth’s painting table.  I wrapped up the light infantry and militia for the Concord project.  I also began work on the grenadiers for the same battle.

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My three painted Philippine units. I have plenty more to do, and probably a fair number more to buy. All Miniaturas 1898, all fun to paint, if a bit of a challenge

But I took some time out to work on a different unit for my Philippine-American War project.  I decided to do one of the Tagalog tribal units.  These unit were pretty ubiquitous, particularly on the islands other than Luzon where firearms could be a bit less plentiful.  In The Men Who Would Be Kings, these are 18-figure units.  No rayadillo to worry about.  Most of the figures would be wearing white.

Miniaturas 1898 has some very nice figures for Tagalog insurrectos, as opposed to the troops in the Republican army.  They have figures armed with just bolos, the long machete-like knives the tribal troops became infamous for.  There is also a pack of fighters armed with mixed melee and missile troops, including bamboo spears, bows and arrows and even a crossbow. I added these troops together with six rifle armed figures to give me the kind of mixed shooter and melee troops I was looking for. I gave them one of the “special” Antonio Bonifacio figures as a leader and standard bearer.

Hard to see the rayadillo in the photos, much easier to see with your eye.  It’s hard to paint, but very satisfying when finished.

The unit was pretty easy to paint.  Most have a first coat of Vallejo Grey-White.  Then I highlight with white and go back and paint the creases with a mix of Grey-White and Vallejo Light Grey.  It provides a decent contrast with the light base color without the starkness of just Light Grey alone.  I also used Vallejo Tan Earth, lightened for highlight, as well as Vallejo Flat Red.  The latter I highlighted with Scarlet, and then lightened for a second highlight.

All this highlighting and drybrushing is kind of new to me, so I’m learning a lot with this project.  But it’s fun and hasn’t turned out badly. I’ve also changed my rifle-painting for this project.  Instead of using metal, I’ve gone to Vallejo Neutral Gray for the barrels and gun furniture, It’s still a darkish color without the sheen of a metal color.  The Philippine troops would have used Remington Rifles with a few of the modern Mausers thrown in.  The Americans would have used Krag-Jorgensen rifles and carbines, with volunteer troops and the Philippine Scouts using old trapdoor Springfields.

I did make a purchase this month.  I picked up a pack of Old Glory U.S. Cavalry from their Spanish American War range.  There isn’t a rush to do them.  I’m sure I’ll stick to the Philippine figures until what I have is done or nearly so. I also picked up their bag of U.S. volunteers.

Originally the Volunteers were drawn from the states, and they served generally quite effectively in the campaign outside of Manila.  They are replaced by regulars and U.S. Volunteers as the battle shifts north and south away from capital.  The difference is the weapons the state volunteers begin the campaign with 1873 “trapdoor” Springfield.  They use it fairly effectively, but it is not a repeating rifle, just a breech-loader, and it fires black powder cartridges. There is a battalion of Washington State Volunteers on Luzon, together with a battery of artillery, and homer that I am, you can imagine what I’ll be painting.

Looking at the Old Glory range, they have a couple more desirable packs.  I’m sure that at some point I will also order a bag each of sailors and Marines.  These troops played a valuable role in the amphibious operations that were necessary in all parts of the archipelago.

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With all the snow, we had to postpone our big Concord walk-through all the way to March 23rd.  I’ll have all the troops I need to paint completed by then.  I’m anxious to finish the 36 grenadiers I have left so I can paint–anything I bloody well please.  Got lots I’d like to mess around with.

 

January’s Already Gone

It’s Sunday the 27th and the month is nearly over.  I have yet to make a 2019 post.

That said, it’s been a really good month.  My school year is nearly half over, and I have a minimum of scratches and scars to show for it.  The Concord project is coming together and I’ve enjoyed painting figures for it. I’ve kept purchases to a minimum, kinda sorta, and Edgar Martinez was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  What’s not to like?

It’s been a good painting, if not such a good gaming month.  I’ve been working really hard on figures for Concord.  January I finished 36 militia figures, and 12 British light infantry.  That’s six militia skirmish units and one light infantry unit if you’re following along your Rebels and Patriots rules.

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Kevin’s messy painting desk part 1. Some finished militia in the pile, awaiting basing. To the left, some light infantry under construction. A mess of unpainted figures waiting for me to do something with them, anything. All figures are Front Rank AWI.

All the figures are from Front Rank.  You may know them.  They’ve been around for a while.  They are thickish 28mm figures from the UK.  Most folks would consider them no longer state of the art.  They are big and bulky with ample detail drawn in clear bold lines.  They are easy for me to paint and I enjoy working with them a great deal.  I would almost compare them to working with a coloring book and I’m simply painting in between with lines with an occasional highlight or wash thrown in for good measure.

I’m presently at 24 light infantry and 60 militia.  Still quite a ways to go, but I’m thrilled to be making progress.

My attention has shifted slightly to the Philippine figures that have been sitting on my painting table since November.  Today I finished the rayadillo on the six and a half figures (one with pants only) It’s a time consuming process that requires a big stretch of time to complete because the three shades of blue-gray (lightened each time) has to be done in one sitting.  I find myself going kind of stir-crazy, painting tiny little lines-some straight, some not so much-desperately hoping to finish before my pile of lightened blue-gray dries up. It’s quite possible these guys will be done by Thursday, giving me 60 figures painted for the month.

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Kevin’s messy painting desk part 2. This badly lit photo shows Philippine insurrectos. They are about 60% finished, and should be completed and based some time this week.

So I got some figures painted for the month.  I also bought a twenty more figures from Front Rank.  So I’m a net positive for January.  Actually it’s kind of cheating, because I bought a bunch more in December, but they don’t count in the overall total.

I also received my Tinywargames sea mat.  It is an 8′ x 6′ mat that looks quite nice.  I’ve had a huge (10′ X 6′) felt mat for decades.  It’s finally started to look worn out, has some stains, and it’s time for it to retire.  Maybe I’ll even use it for ponds or swamps or something. This is my second mat from the UK provider.  They do great work, but their larger mats (over 6′ X 4′) get pretty spendy.  I took advantage of a 40% off sale just prior to the new year.

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Don’t look at the ships, look at the mat. That’s the tinywargames mat that will be replacing my sadly worn piece of sea felt that served me well for about twenty years. Geez, maybe longer.

 

Looking forward to my first Rebels and Patriots play test on February 9th.  It will be a first walk through for Concord.  I have a feeling I’ll be playing with these rules a lot in the future. I’ll letcha know how it goes.

 

 

2018 Year In Review

Saturday was  Dave’s Annual Naval Game, or DANG for those who are not Dave aware.  It’s always a lot of fun, scheduled in the week after Christmas.  It’s also the last game gig of the year, and signifies the time is right for this post.

2018 was a great year for a zillion reasons.  I painted a lot of miniatures.  I started two new projects (doh!) I finished a project (yippee!)  My wife and I agreed I should retire at the end of this school year (yeaaaa!!)

Lots of fun in 2018.  I always set goals most of which ending up being fairly pointless.  But one thing I’m super proud of is sticking with my plans to complete my Malta project.  I really want to thank Dave Schueler for suggestions, encouragement and playtests. Doug Hamm sent me a couple of great articles on Malta that shaped my thinking.  Thanks too to all my friends willing to play some AirWar 1940.  Finally I would be remiss if I forgot David Manley for lettin’ us mess with his rules.  They are super.

The Malta project is finished-188 1/300 scale planes EXCEPT for painting some 1/600 scale merchant vessels, i.e. target convoy and escorts.  There will be seven merchant ships and three escorts when it’s all over.  The Malta project will make its appearance at Enfilade.

I also took on the small Flint and Feather project with David Sullivan.  I always envisioned this as a small project.  24 figures.  I might add to them if the early 17th century Dutch types make an appearance.  But I would definitely keep it to ten or fewer figs.  I’ve come to enjoy the Song of Drums and Tomahawks rules.  I also see the value in this entire range of skirmish rules by Ganesha Games.

I also began work on my 1898 Miniaturas figures for the Philippine Insurrection.  I picked up a load of figures in August, and have begun painting, but simply haven’t gotten very far.  Further, my progress has stalled because I’ve fully embraced the Retreat From Concord Project that I’m doing for Enfilade with David Sullivan and Dave Schueler.

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My first unit of British light infantry for Concord.  These are Front Rank figures.  Those in the foreground are Marine light infantry.  Those behind will be 23rd Foot.

That, brings me to Concord.  Dave, David and I met yesterday over lunch to chat about any number of things, but ostensibly to discuss this project.  We made some agreements about a suitable map, and some general agreements about figures.  But we are stuck until the the Rebels and Patriots are released by Osprey later this month. Expect I will continue focused on this project until every conceivable figure is painted. I have high expectations for this game, and expect it will be the “last new project.”  Yeah, I know.

Goals

We all set goals for the new year.  But 2019 will definitely be different, because I will be jobless after June.  I do plan to work for my student journalism program this summer, but for the most part I will be more in control of my own time.  I have a couple of goals around time and gaming.  One is simply to play more games.  All kinds of games.  I hope to be more involved with the Olympia gamers who play Tuesdays nights, as well as some day games with my fellow retiree George Kettler.   More time during the week means I don’t have to put off lots of chores for the weekends so I may have more availability there.

Unfortunately, retirement also means less income.  I will have income from savings and my pension, but I’m two years ahead of collecting Social Security.  That said, Lorri still has a good job. and even when we’re both retired-still a ways off for the missus- we won’t be broke.  But I’ll have to be more careful with the money I do have, and lavish spending on figures, records, anything really will keep us from doing some of the traveling we hope to do. I still have my monthly allowance I can use as I please and it will allow me to add figures to projects, but keeping from doing anything major that is new.

One goal I have is to keep close track of figures bought versus figures painted.  I don’t have zillions of figures stashed away, but I definitely have some.  So I’m hoping to post each time I finish a unit, and that will help me track progress toward completing some of my figures.

Painting is something I really enjoy, so I do it as often as I can manage.  My goal for 2019 is to finish at least the equivalent of one figure per day, so at least 365 figures (including planes, ships, etc.)

Enfilade

Our 2013 Tirpitz raid scenario will be rerun at Enfilade 2019.  We’ll use the Airwar 1940 rules instead of Mustangs.  Fewer headaches and more action for everyone.

Already made our plans for Enfilade.  Dave Schueler and I will reprise our Tungsten Raids on the Tirpitz with the Airwar 1940 rules.  We used Mustangs when we ran the game five or so years ago, and this will make it a bit easier on the players. We’re also going to run a Malta game, though I think we’re less clear what that looks like.  The good news is all the planes and ships for these games are complete, so we are ready to go.

David Sullivan and I will run two games.  We’ll run a Flint and Feather game.  Again the figures are done for this, so little needs to be done. We are also doing Concord, and I’m hoping Daveshoe takes an active role in the planning and running of the game.  He’s already offered a workable map, and suggested some valuable scenario ideas.  There’s tonnes of stuff to do for this game, including terrain and lots of figures to paint, so you’ll be hearing a lot, dear reader.

Thanks for reading all this dreck in 2018.  Hopefully I can convince you to stick around for 2019.  Happy New Year.

 

 

The 48 Figures of Christmas

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With lots going on in the world–as I watch my retirement savings dwindle with the stock market collapse-it is also the first day of my Christmas break.  The district, in its wisdom, has seen fit to give us an extra day of vacation today, December 21st, and I am set to enjoy it.  On my list of to-do’s are dog-walking, some extra walking at South Hill Mall, holiday chores for Lorri and lots of painting.  As much of the latter as I can stand.

My vision for Concord has only gotten more grandiose as time has passed. David and I divided up the British forces.  I’ll take six light companies, which I think will be 36 figures.  I’ve also got six or seven grenadier companies, which will likely be 36 or so figures.  Not bad.  There are 42 companies of American militia at Concord, or therabouts.  That’s a bit more painting, I’m afraid.

I’m beginning to have some serious thoughts about how best to execute this scenario, which is always dangerous.  A lot of it came to me this morning during one of my frequent bouts of insomnia, and I think it might work, but it may just be a case of needing to take more meds.  I’ll need to run it by my colleagues to see what they think, but there will be more to follow.  This is all more complicated, of course, by the fact that the rules we want to use, Rebels and Patriots, isn’t actually available for a month, so I’m shooting in the dark.

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Since there isn’t a ton I can do about rules until I have some to actually look at, my Christmas break will have to be about painting. I’ve blocked out a lot figures I’d like to get done.  First on my list are some Front Rank American militia.  These figures will be grouped into 6-figure units and will likely fight as skirmishers according to what we’ve read in beta test accounts of the rules.  I have 24 of them, and have gotten a good start on them.

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I also hope to get a couple of British companies done.  The first is the light company of the British Marines.  They didn’t receive their royal designation until after the War of Independence.  This is kind of a cool unit with a unique hat and facing plate.  I’ve already gotten a start on them.  The second unit will, for our game, is only a half of a unit, the company of Marine grenadiers. Pretty straightforward-red coat, white facings, square lace.  Life is good.  Not talking about a lot of figures here, just six of each. That brings me up to 36 figures so far that I need to complete during the my Christmas break.

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Last, but not least, I began working on a unit of Philippine insurgents about a month ago and stalled out on them.  They sit patiently on my painting talbe waiting to be finished off.  Half of them are in Rayadillo, the rest in white, or blue. Need to knock these guys out.

There is a chance I may wrap all 48 of these guys up with time to spare, and that would be great.  I did receive a significant order from Front Rank this week that should give me all the figures I need for the British at Concord, less a couple of command figures.  Also got a handful of militia types, so I can work on those.

I think I’m gonna watch the two Hellboy movies today and see what I can get done.

 

 

Concord–Getting Started

As explained in my last post, David Sullivan and I have settled on the retreat from Concord on April 19, 1775 as our big Enfilade game for 2019.  I see it as a pretty challenging scenario if for no other reasons than we can’t get our hands on the rules for the next six weeks, and I need to start painting immediately–unit sizes may be different than we suspect, but we’re going ahead anyway and doing the best we can.

Thanks to some interesting sources, we’ve been able to pin down the correct units for the British and made some decisions about their sizes–making some assumptions about the rules.

We have agreed on a 1:5 scale.  Yes 1:1 would be nice- but there is neither time or space for 700 or so British or 4,000 angry Americans. Even at 1:5, that would equal some 800 painted American militia, which seems a little excessive.  We’ll almost certainly rotate units in and out of the action

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Twelve completed figures and twenty-four more that I’ve just begun.  Hope to have them all finished before the first of the year.

I’ve agreed to take on the painting of six British light infantry companies (36 figures) and seven British grenadier companies (42 figures.)  I have many of these, with more on the way from Front Rank.  I also have FR figures for five militia companies (60 figures,) and I’m willing to do as many more as I can stomach. The militia companies are by community locale, which I think is really super

We’ve managed to rope Dave Schueler into the planning for this game.  He is really good at scenario.  Though the thrust of the game is maneuvering the British from Point A to Point B through very adverse circumstances, it becomes more complicated as the American pop up unexpectedly, and as the British flankers (skirmishing light infantry) try to engage them, while avoiding traps themselves. I feel like this has the potential to be a really interesting game.  Of course, I’ve been wrong before.

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My first twelve figures of militia.  Future units will have more interesting basing, but honestly I’m thrilled just to have them done.

Finished my first unit for the project.  They are almost all Front Rank militia with a few Old Glory guys thrown in for good measure.  They’ll do.

With every new project there are acquisitions that must be made.  I’ll be looking for useful terrain pieces–hills are always an issue, and there are some key hills on the retreat route. There are houses, taverns, fields and woods.  The Battle Road is bisected by a couple of streams with bridges, but I have the streams and bridges covered.

All of this excitement for the action also comes with the requirement that I learn more about it. I’ve been trying to amass some books and websites, and have my nose firmly thrust in them.  Here are a few suggestions:

Let’s start with a web source, Jeff Berry’s Obscure Battles blog.  He has a great web post on Lexington and Concord.  It boils things down to basic elements, but not devoid of useful context.  He has the all the units and strengths present on April 19th, some maps as well as advice to wargamers. Nice. Thanks to Dave Schueler for hunting this down.

Phillip Greenwalt and Rober Orrison wrote A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord. in coordination with the Minuteman National Park sites.  There is some good stuff here, with good maps, but probably lacking the detail most gamers would want about the battle.  Some interesting black and white photos of historical locations.

You might know Arthur Tourtellot’s Lexington and Concord: The Beginning of the War of the American Revolution by its original title William Diamond’s Drum.  Published in 1959, this book is a great read.  Full of context, its tough for me to put down.  There is considerable space devoted to events on April 19th, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I’ve ordered two additional books, because I can’t help myself. Brendan Morrisey’s Osprey Campaign Book, Boston 1775 will end up focusing more on Bunker Hill, but an overview of Lexington and Concord is included.  I’m hoping for a great map or two. Finally I’ve ordered  Nathaniel’s Philbrick’s Bunker Hill.  Philbrick is a terrific writer who offers great context to his subject, in this case the conditions around Boston in the first year of the revolution, including the events of April 19th.