Enfilade Less Than Two Months Away

cav3

We’re about to start week two of Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay at Home self-quarantine.  I confess to feeling cooped up, but I am painting for Enfilade which is only fifty some odd days away.  I check the coronavirus numbers on the Washington Post that are updated regularly. Though the curve is bent somewhat,  cases in Washington state continue to increase regularly.  Though we should get an update for the governor’s ban on gatherings Tuesday, it’s hard to imagine the convention comes off. There simply is no good news.

Even so, I am planning as though the Enfilade is still a go. That means I have to finish my projects. I still have a couple of irons in the fire. The first is the Ploesti project.  I hoped to have them finished by Sunday the 29th, but I just don’t see it happening. All the tedious lining is completed, but there is still lots of detailing to do–plexiglass panels, nose art, exhaust plumes, lettering and numbering and decals.  Everything is a bit slow, because of the size of the miniatures. I’m hoping for Tuesday.

cav 2

The other big project is the the Philippine-American scenario.  This is one that still needs work.  I finished the last of the American units today.  There are still 32 more bolo-armed Philippine figures to paint.  They’ll go fast, once I get started on them.  I will have painted a considerable number of figures for this in the end.  That’s great, wrapping up this project is high on my list.  When the figures for this scenario is complete, I will still have plenty left to paint, but it’s a project I really want to wrap up.

In addition to the figures, however, is still a fair amount of stuff to do.  I have a pair of 4Ground buildings to complete, plus some additional terrain bits to make that are central to the scenario.  I’ve actually made a lot of progress in this area, but I still have a ways to go.

I’m far more concerned about a lack of opportunity to play test these games than I am finishing the work.  The Stay-At-Home rules make things tough, both for places to play and gathering gamers together to play them.  I think the Ploesti game will be fine, but the Philippine game has some moving parts that really need a couple of walks through.

 

It’s not the Willow Run Ford line (but I’m trying)

Willow Run

The B-24 assembly line at Willow Run during WWII.

In 1943 the Ford production line in Willow Run, MI wasn’t making cars, it was producing B-24 bombers for the USAAF.  They went from producing autos with a couple of thousand parts to producing planes with about 1.5 million parts each. Workers could produce about 1.5 planes per hour. Not one Liberator completed from beginning to end in less than an hour, but once and a half planes rolling off the assembly line every hour.  Pretty amazing.

At this moment I am also producing 1/300 B-24D’s for my Enfilade game. I don’t have nearly as many parts per plane, but I’m a lot slower. These are for the Ploesti game Dave Schueler and I hope to be running May 23rd.  The game calls for 18 planes for six players, but I hope to have 24, so we can take a couple more just in case more players are interested.

B-24D

One of Phil Bardsley’s most excellent B-24’s for the earlier iteration of Ploesti with Paul Hannah. No, mine won’t be nearly as nice.

Before I proceed on my how-to, I need to make it clear that Ploesti has been done before by two dear friends.  At least a fifteen years ago, Phil Bardsley and Paul Hannah worked with Dave to run Ploesti using the Mustangs rules.  They were both superb painters and their B-24’s are excellent. Their planes were painted in USAAF “Desert Pink.”  Not an official color, this was actually USAAF Desert Sand that oxidized in the North African condition to a lighter, pinkish color.  They mixed their own colors for their planes and did a fabulous job.  Phil passed away a few years ago and I bought his bombers.  They are little pieces of art.  My planes won’t be Desert Pink, they’ll be USAAF olive drab, and while they’ll be well-painted, I’m simply not as good as Phil.  There were plenty of both on the mission.

The Ploesti bombers flew B-24D’s with the big plexiglass greenhouse in the nose.  Later Liberators had the big nose turret.  Not many B-24’s available in 1/300 and Scotia makes the only B-24D. Thankfully, it’s a really nice miniature.  The dozen I ordered were are very nicely scribed, well-cast, and didn’t come with their very long wings tied into a pretzel. They were reasonably inexpensive at only four pounds (4.61 a whack at today’s ridiculously low exchange rate.)

What you notice looking at them is, again, the long thin wings, the chunkiness off the fuselage, and the size of those twin tails connected by the large horizontal stabilizer.  It will become a big deal for the modeler because they feel unbalanced, and holding them or maneuvering them around a paint brush is challenging.

When I started working on my planes the first thing I had to do was prep them for paint.  Wings had to be straightened.  It wasn’t severe but took some time and second looks. The twin tail and stabilizer likewise needed some time.  Just apply counter-pressure and there isn’t a problem with breakage.  There are some mold marks to deal with, especially down the fuselage. I scraped those off with a sharp X-Acto knife, but you could also use a needle file or sand paper.  The latter might give you the best result, but I’m impatient.  Paul always used to sand his planes, which eliminated pits in the castings.  Again, I probably should have done that, but I’m kind of a loser.

Before moving on and priming, I decided to drill out locations for the flexible machine guns that festooned the early Liberators.  I not-so-carefully identified the sites for these and drilled them out with a Dremel tool and a wee, tiny bit.  You could use a pin vise, but the pewter is kind of resistant to slow turning drills. After I was done and cleaned out the holes I glued in toothbrush bristles, cutting them to size with a pair of floss scissors. Used CA glue for the adhesive

Moving on to primer, I used the Army Painter white spray primer.  It’s a little spendy but it really covers well and a can lasts a long time. However, after the first four planes are completed I’ll be topping the white primer with Vallejo’s USA Olive Drab Primer.  It will make working with my preferred paint so much easier.  If it isn’t available at your local bricks and mortar store, you can order it from Amazon in a 200ml bottle for less than twenty bucks.

The paint scheme is pretty simple: olive drab over gray.  There are lots of different colors you can work around.  My preference is to use the Vallejo Air Colors series whenever possible, because they are matched most clearly with the historic colors. USAF Olive Drab is included with the American CBI Theater set.  You get six bottles in each of the many sets available for about twenty bucks. It also includes an USAF Light Grey, which is also a great color for the undersides of wings and fuselage.

B-24's 5

The first four B-24’s in base Olive Drab, awaiting dry brushing. The journey begins.

But I don’t you to go grab these and not know the risks in using them.  These colors are designed for use with an air brush.  The pigments are ground very fine and they simply don’t cover very well.  I believe there are four coats of USAF Olive Drab on each of the first four bombers.  I’m super happy with what I have, but it wasn’t easy, and I ordered two more bottle at almost eight dollars a whack to make sure I had enough to finish my project. I ended up not sticking with the USAF Light Grey and switched to Vallejo Sky Grey just because of the coverage issues.

I spent lots of time getting the base colors down, lots of coverage, lots of drying, then a the first of many shots of Dullcote.  Painting planes this large means handling planes, and I didn’t want to rub anything off. I decided early on the big planes needed some weathering, so I mixed 50-50 olive drab and Vallejo Light Grey to get a nice lightened, but not too bright color. Then I carefully dry-brushed the wings, engines, tails, stabilizer and fuselage. More Dullcote.

Next up the lining.  I used a charcoal rather than black over the olive.  I used Vallejo light gray on the underside.  Yes, it’s tricky but not impossible.  You can always paint over egregious mistakes.  Paint the motors and then it’s on to the black leading edges.  This was actually a bit trickier, and I had to paint over some mistakes.  The tail fin edges were particularly difficult because there is no scribing to give me a clue.  In the end, I think my lines are too thick, but I’m gonna live with it. Dullcote again.

How much more detail do you want to include?  From here it’s probably safe to paint the metal spinners on the propellers and proceed directly to decals. Because Phil’s planes include nose art, I decided to try my hand.  His planes have such legible, clear hand-lettering and there is no possibility I can pull that off, hard as I might. I did some research on B-24 nose art, and tried my hand at Flak Alley, Doc, Hard Hearted Hannah, and The Goon.  Are they great, no, but they’re good enough.  These are all painted on the left side of the nose in front of the cockpit.  On the right I painted the symbol for the Flying Eight-Balls, which are really hard to make out.  I left room for a two digit number on the right.

On to the decals.  Phil used the red-bordered star roundel with bars, which was a Pacific insignia.  Pictures show just a roundel, often in pretty mangled condition with the yellow “Torch” band. I bought the latter from Flight Deck Decals.  They are fast, reasonable and do some great work. Oddly, these American planes use an RAF tricolor tail flash.  I had zillions of these from I-94 Enterprises. I stopped there.

That left just  the numerals to paint and the tail letter for each plane.  I painted the numerals white and the letter in Vallejo Golden Yellow, per the photos I’ve seen.  That wrapped up the first four of twelve planes.

It was a terrific learning experience.  I started the four before I left for San Diego, and it’s really taken most of the rest of the week to finish them.  Hopefully I’ve learned some lessons along the way and I might be finished with the remaining eight by the end of the week.

 

Enfilade in a Time of Covid 19

Enfilade_logo2

Enfilade, for those not in the know, is the flagship miniature gaming convention in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s hosted by the Northwest Miniature Gaming Society (NHMGS) at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia and welcomes 350+ guests from Northern California to British Columbia, from the Olympic Peninsula to Montana each Memorial Day weekend.

Because there are rental spaces and room reservations,  it involves money which creates a certain amount of risk and reward in a typical year.  Sometimes we make a few bucks, sometimes we lose a few bucks, but we have an extremely capable treasurer who has made an art form of effectively managing our funds. Our contract with the Red Lion is quite fair–as long as everyone shows up in a typical year.

This is not a typical year.  Or maybe you haven’t turned on the news lately. Or noticed that traffic is down 30% (in the Puget Sound area.) Or been surprised that you’ll have to clonk some poor old lady on the noggin in the parking lot in order to snaggle some toilet paper.  I went shopping yesterday and could not get these items: hand sanitizer, ketchup, rubbing alcohol, tp, soup, or olives.  Weird mix of items. Nobody seems to be stockpiling fresh vegetables.

But I digress.  Unfortunately in this age of the Covid 19 pandemic, NHMGS finds itself confronted what is truly an existential crisis.  To cancel our convention in the face of what is a real health crisis, would force NHMGS to pay severe penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars, and force us, a small non-profit, into bankruptcy. Many of our members on Facebook have expressed an interest in attending in the face of the illness.  However, others have fairly expressed their view the convention is too great a health risk, a danger to their families should they attend, and we should fold.  At this time that’s not an option. NHMGS is between a rock and a hard place.

However, there is a potential rescue on the horizon.  No NHMGS won’t be included in the federal bail-out package.  It is the government in the form of Governor Jay Inslee’s social distancing proclamations that offer our best hope of weathering this storm .  At the present time Enfilade would not pass muster against the state social distancing requirements under the current state of emergency.  In the event of government regulation, contract canceled, we can plan for 2021. Yay, right?  Wrong.  Unfortunately, that proclamation expires on March 31st.  Back to gloom and hopelessness.

However it’s inconceivable Inslee won’t extend the ban.  The virus shows few signs of relenting as time progresses.  States are erecting strict “shelter-in-place” laws further limiting social interaction, and I fully expect it is simply a matter of time before Washington does the same.  However, despite anticipation of a future extension or deepening of the current proclamation, it’s unclear how long it will last. Until April 30th?  May 15th? That would be the worst, being in limbo until two weeks or so before the convention. We’d have few attendees, thus little revenue, and we’d suffer penalties under our contract.  Not only that, but the penalties for canceling the convention ramp up the closer we get to our Memorial Day weekend dates.  Bigger rocks, worse hard places.

I recently accepted the NHMGS interim presidency after our elected leader fell quite ill.  Of course I wish him well and a full recovery.  Unfortunately the convention is foremost on my mind.  The good news is that I work with a group of really great people, friends for many years.  We’ll find a way to make it work.

 

Shiny Objects-My Dance with 1898 Miniaturas.

You’re miniature wargamers.  You know what I’m talking about.  A manufacturer comes out with something new–maybe it’s a period that’s always interested you, maybe it’s an interesting set of rules to go with interesting miniatures, maybe they’re simply the nicest miniatures you’ve ever seen from a period that holds a magnetic attraction on your passions.

I can say, honestly, that I’ve always been attracted by periods and passions and not to figures.  The Hundred Years War, American War of Independence, and a host of other periods have attracted my gaming dollars and the time it takes to paint up a project because I have a deep interest in the period.  Aside-most mainstream interest; War of Independence.  Least mainstream project: Tie between the Lewis and Clark Expedition and The Burr Conspiracy.

About three years ago, at age 61, I was looking around at a last new project.  Let’s just define our terms here, since that often breeds confusion.  By last project, I mean a last new, never begun before new project.  It would mean buying and painting both sides, and all the time that demanded. I was particularly interested in a colonial project.  Osprey had just released Daniel Mersey’s The Men Who Would Be Kings, and I loved Lion Rampant.  Lacking any armies from that period, I was intrigued.

Vols 1

Vols 2

A couple of photos of Old Glory’s volunteers.  State and U.S. Volunteers fought in the Philippine War.  The chief difference between the regulars and the volunteers is that the latter was armed with the 1873 pattern Sprinfield (trapdoor) rifle that fired a black powder cartridge.  Regulars carried the Krag with its distinctive side mount magazine and smokeless cartridges.

My first choice was Egypt and the Sudan.  I was in from Tel-el-Kebir all the way to Omdurman.  The Perrys had a nice range of figures, and I could fill in from other manufacturers, so I was kind of hot to go.  With a conflict lasting from 1882-1898, there would be plenty to keep me busy.

At about this time 1898 Miniaturas appeared on The Miniatures Page.  The photos showed the figures to be truly beautiful, and the announcement that the Spanish company would focus on the Spanish American War AND the Philippine American conflict got my attention.  I decided to follow the range and save my shekels for a future purchase.

At first I was interested in doing both conflicts, but in April of 2018 Lorri and I agreed I would retire after the 2019 school year. That would mean less hobby money along with my reduced income, and I focused instead on the Philippine War. Why?  Well, it seemed more colonial and provoked a real debate in the United States whether our country would join the ranks of other imperialist nations. It had the added benefit of including more state volunteers than U.S. regulars because most of the latter were packed off to Cuba. Those volunteers included an infantry battalion and a battery from Washington state.  I’m such a homer.

I invested some of my summer camp earnings toward the a down payment on the period, and by August of 2018, I had plenty of figures to work for the U.S. invaders and the Philippine defenders.  There were still some holes the 1898 Miniaturas range, but they were still adding some figures.  Last year, they supplemented their excellent collection of infantry with some very nice mounted leaders and an American Gatling gun.

Unfortunately, the death knell of all figure ranges happens when a manufacturer moves on to another range.  The 1898 folks have done exactly that by creating a range of Spanish miniatures for the early 17th century and Thirty Years War period. They’re nice, but not a range I have any intention of doing, and exactly nothing has happened with their colonial range in over a year.

Tiger 1

The Tiger mountain gun.  The gun is quite serviceable, and comes with a mule and two crew.  The crew members aren’t great, but the mule is awesome. The rules call for four crew so I added a couple of leftover volunteer officers from Old Glory.

What does that mean?  Well, there are definitely some bits that are missing.  No American volunteers, sailors or marines.  No mounted cavalry for the Americans.  There are still some weapons that would be nice to have-Colt machine guns, light artillery more maneuverable in the jungles and mountains of the Philippines.  Philippine soldiers in American service-the Philippine Scouts and Philippine Constabulary would be valuable units in many scenarios.

Tiger 2

This is the Colt machine gun by Tiger in being schlepped formation.  I had an extra Tiger officer to add to the three man crew. I liked these guys.  Big and a little goofy, but not bad at all.

Tiger 3

The ready for battle version of the Colt.  Another Tiger miniature.

To be clear, all the miniatures are available.  Old Glory makes all the extra American infantry and cavalry.  Tiger Miniatures has some of the extra weapons bits.  All the figures are very serviceable, but don’t quite match the quality of the Spanish company’s figures.

It’s got to be really hard to sustain a business in this hobby.  Gamers move from game system to game system, and are attracted by new interests and miniature ranges all the time.  A regular customer becomes a former customer easily and predictably. Balancing a company’s offerings with additional and alternatives to attract the maximum number of buyers only makes sense.  But I won’t hide my disappointment that 1898 Miniaturas has not finished what it began.  Yes, the major pieces are there, but there is still plenty to complete the range.

Just in case you’re interested here is what is available for the Spanish American War and Philippine War from 1898 Miniaturas, Old Glory and Tiger Miniatures

Americans

  • Regular Infantry-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • American Buffalo Soldiers, Infantry-1898, Old Glory
  • Dismounted Cavalry-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dismounted Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dismounted Rough Riders–1898, Tiger
  • Volunteer infantry–
  • Mounted Cavalry–Old Glory, Tiger
  • 3.2″ gun and crew–1898, Tiger
  • Artillerists–Old Glory
  • Gatling guns and crew–1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Colt machine gun and crew–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dynamite gun and crew–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Mountain gun and crew–Tiger
  • Marines–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Marine Artillery (one pounder)-Tiger
  • Marines w/Colt machine gun-Tiger
  • Sailors–Old Glory
  • Philippine Constabulary-Tiger
  • Philippine Scouts–Tiger
  • Mounted personalities–1898, Old Glory

Spanish

  • Spanish Infantry–1898 (many variations), Old Glory (two variations), Tiger (two variations
  • Spanish Civil Guard-Tiger
  • Spanish sailors–Old Glory
  • Spanish Marines–Tiger
  • Spanish Cavalry–Tiger, Old Glory*
  • Spanish mounted infantry-Tiger
  • Spanish mounted personalities–1898
  • Spanish artillery–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Spanish mountain gun–1898, Tiger
  • Spanish Gatling Gun–Tiger
  • Cuban Rebel Infantry–Old Glory, Tiger

*Both Old Glory and Tiger use cavalry interchangeably for Spanish and Cuban rebels.

Philippine Troops

  • Philippine Republic/Native Tagalogs–1898, Tiger
  • Philippine militia w/mixed hand weapons-1898
  • Moros–Old Glory
  • Personalities–1898

A Productive January

It’s been a great painting month.  I spent lots of time focused on those Enfilade projects I’m working on.  I’m kind of a procrastinator about most things in my life, but not about getting convention games ready.  I’ll never forget watching some guys painting figures at their table for their weekend-long Battle of Gettysburg game.  That is not me.

I began the month working on figures for the Rebels and Patriots game David Sullivan and I are hosting.  It’s based kind of loosely on the retreat to North Carolina across the Dan River, leading to Guilford Courthouse.  Sort of like Weitzel’s Mill.

Two of the units I wanted to paint were light companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards that are part of the British pursuit. The figures for both units are Front Rank, from their Light Infantry in slouch hat group.  It’s a pretty thin batch of figures, so there’s not a big mix to choose from.  As I’ve stated before, these figures are very fun to paint, very easy to paint because they’re large and kind of blocky.  They remind me of working with a coloring book, because the lines are so clear. No facing colors or lace to speak of.  I did give the officers Scarlet coats instead of the Vallejo Flat Red, so they could be in regulation dress and be better targets for the American riflemen.

Front Rank Light Infantry in southern dress.  These are painted as the light company for the Coldstream Guards.  Their device is painted on many of the figures’ backpacks in the photo upper left.

Though there’s not a lot to dress them up, I decided to paint their backpacks with crests for each of the different regiments.  The Coldstream Guards were pretty straightforward.  The Grenadier Guards not so much.  Every guardsman was not a recipient, but the majority of figures have their respective crests.

Grenadier Guards light company.  Their devices were more of a challenge to paint and I skipped trying to paint the royal script inside the garter.

I also painted Kirkwood’s Delaware light infantry.  These are Front Rank figures in 1779 regulation dress.  Again, fun to paint.  I didn’t quite get the figure mix right.  Was hoping to add some figures in hunting shirts but didn’t order correctly.  My bad. The biggest distinction for Kirkwood’s troops is the yellow hat lace, so at least I could see them coming.  As their white overalls wore out they resorted to bed ticking for trousers.  I was hoping to have a few more examples of this and remembered what a terrible pain in the ass it was and called two examples good enough.

Robert Kirkwood’s Delaware Regiment was really part of the old Continental Line that served throughout the southern campaign.  It’s the closest Nathaniel Green had to an elite unit, but though it had only 80 or so men.  Kirkwood was a soldier’s soldier, serving through the Revolution, only to die on the Wabash battlefield in 1790.

Back in December I went to the Perry Miniatures site and put together an order for the remaining figures I need for this project–British Legion figures for the loyalist South Carolina Dragoons, Lee’s Legion dragoons, and a handful of riflemen.  Four weeks later, having not received them, I went back and looked at my order, only to discover it tidily sitting in the site’s shopping cart.  Sent in my order the next day, and shipped immediately from the Perry site.  Still waiting, but am watching the mail daily.

While waiting for the Perry’s to arrive I decided to switch gears and begin work on planes for Ploesti.  I don’t have a ton to do but they are big ol’ Scotia B-24D’s.  The models are nice but large, which always poses a bit of a challenge.  The planes often come with their uber-long wings pretzeled and their large stabilizers and double tails needing careful straightening.  I set into this task one evening, only to realize the B-24’s I ordered back in August weren’t the early D version of the bomber that set upon the Romanian oil fields at all, but the later B-24J with the power nose turret.  Still a nice model I can make use of, but it took another order to the UK to retrieve the situation, so I am still awaiting the whims of the Post Office.

B-24D

This Scotia B-24D is one of ten I acquired from the late Phil Barsdley.  They are spectacular in every regard, including the guns Phil added.  The paint, including “Flying Eightball” emblem and nose art I’ll never be able to equal.

B24J

Scotia B-24J in all its raw metal glory.  Note the nose turret. They’ll paint well.

With the R and P figs and the required planes unavailable, I’ve been working on some figures for my Philippine scenario. Because there is a coastal element to the game, I gotta have marines and sailors.  I think I’ve already shared my U.S. Marines.  Like those figures the sailors are offerings from Old Glory.  Not a tough job–because they are in white uniforms with white sailor caps.  Managed to knock out both units this month.  As figures go, they are pretty simple and straight-forward.  they seem a bit small.

Sailors 1

Well, no they aren’t a lot to look at, but if you’re gonna be afloat you gotta have sailors.  Two units of Old Glory Sailors from their Spanish American War range.

They are a pretty simple paint job.  I used Vallejo Grey-White as an undercoat and then painted highlights in straight white.  That’s really all you gotta know.  Simple but reasonably effective.

About the time I thought I could start another unit I got a raging four-day case of the flu.  When I could bring myself to actually go back in my den, I decided to paint some of the heavy weapons I’ll need for the Philippine scenario.  There is a mountain howitzer and crew and a Colt machine gun in both the firing and moving position. I’m about 50% finished with those figures

WIP 1

This bunch is from Tiger Miniatures and include crews for Colt Machine guns as well as a breach loading mountain gun from their Spanish American War range. Under construction.  Hope to be done with the lot by February 2nd.

If I’m able to finish those figures by Friday, I’ll have done 72 figures in the month of January, all 28mm, which is a whole lot for me.  And honestly, it was truly enjoyable.  It’s nice to have about three hours a day to paint.  I can get a lot done.

And the really good news–my Perry order arrived today.

Perry

My small, but anxiously awaited Perry order.

 

 

It’s December!! Just five months until Enfilade!!

In fact it’s been two weeks since I began this post, so Enfilade is even closer than it was. Yes, still more than five months away, but time is marching on.

I’ve written before that Enfilade usually guides my projects and 2020 will be no different.  In fact, as the convention becomes more popular, with more people attending and more folks hosting games, Enfilade is no longer left begging for games at that last minute.  When the website opens on January 1st there is a stampede of hosts rushing for the best times and best tables. He who has no plan is lost.

I refuse to be lost.  I have a plan

Enfilade has six game periods and I’ll be running games in five of them. Some are finished, play tested and ready to go.  Others still need a lot of work and I’ll offer more about them later.

Here in the order of game periods is my plan:

Friday afternoonMad Wet Max.  This is the armed version of Thunderboats!  It’s kinda cute.  Lots of fun between missile launches, mine laying and the occasional shore-bound audience participation. Good way to start the convention.  No, I have nothing left to prepare beyond a review of the rules.

DSC_0247

Friday eveningThe Buffalo Hunt. Another just kinda rollicking good time. I’ve run two of these games now, and I’ve picked up some very good suggestions both times.  Players pick it up okay, so I shouldn’t have any residual headaches. All figures are painted, so aside from one more playtest, I shouldn’t have a lot left to do.

herd 2

Saturday morning:  Nothin’.  I’m taking the morning off. It’s a good time for me to be lazy, look at games, yak with friends, maybe do some shopping or run down to Rainy Day Records . . . or not.

Saturday Afternoon: The Race to the Dan/ Rebels and Patriots. David Sullivan and I were interested in running another R and P game after the success of last year’s Retreat From Concord game. We both have a love of the Southern Campaign so I suggested a scenario that might fit with Green’s retreat to the Dan River and preparation for the Guilford Courthouse Campaign. It should be good, with about ten units per side.  Some are painted, many are not.  David is wisely hoping for several playtests so I’ve already begun painting and am making progress. But I do have minis on order from the UK, and it is Christmas time, so I’m hoping I don’t stall out.

R and P 1

Lee’s Legion foot (in purple) and three small units of Tarleton’s British Legion dragoons are four of the ten our so units I’ll be providing to the Race to the Dan game.

Saturday Evening: Ploesti/Airwar 1940.  This will be a six-player cooperative game as U.S. commanders try to brave the flak, and each other, as they bomb the oil refineries in Romania.  It will be modeled on the scenario that Phil and Paul created for Mustangs! many years ago.  Again, playtests are in order.  I have 11 B-24D’s to paint, so some work to do, but not a lot. A great way to end a day of gaming.

Ploesti

Osprey released its book on the Ploesti attack at the end of November. I think I was first in line to buy.

Sunday:  My Philippine-American War figures will make their official debut.  I have an idea for a six player game that will involve about ten units per side.  There is still a fair amount of painting to do.  Five units for the Americans, two for the Philippines and some miscellaneous weapons.  More daunting is the terrain that will need to be built.  While I have the bamboo forests and rice paddies finished, there is still some miscellaneous jungle terrain I’ll need to do.  Not my long suit.  Like Rebels and Patriots and Ploesti, this will require some playtesting

Philippine 2

November’s Gone

November is already over, and I can’t believe it.  It was a fun month from a gaming standpoint.  I played in a great Black Powder game over at Jim Sagen’s house, attended the Museum of Flight where Dave Schueler and I ran our convoy game twice–and had a blast, and on Friday I ran the second Buffalo Hunt game with some rule changes and had some more suggested to me.  So, more gaming than my pre-retirement self played.

Some photos from our Museum of Flight game convoy game.  British players chose from a variety of bombers to attack an Italian convoy shepherded by two large Cant 1007Z bombers as well as choices of MC 42 or MC 200 fighters.  In the first game the Brits pretty much had their way, but the second game was much closer, with British losses.  However they did torpedo the tanker in the convoy which exploded.

It was also a pretty productive month on the painting table, though I felt like I tried a whole lot of different stuff and wasted a fair amount of time being fairly aimless. Here is what I accomplished:

Aircraft:

These are Raiden’s splendid Beaufort bombers.  One of my favorite airplane miniatures. Unforunately they don’t make the Aussie version with powered dorsal turret.

  • four P-40N’s in RAAF colors.  Scotia planes, I wrote about these.
  • six Beaufort torpedo bombers in RAAF colors. Miniatures by Raiden.  More planes for Rabaul.  These are in Foliage Green with markings by Flight Deck decals.  Fun to paint and pretty darn easy
  • Six Beaufighter attack planes in RAAF colors.  Miniatures by Scotia.  Foliage Green, decals by I-94. Again headed for Rabaul.  The first of my attempts at weathering.

Scotia’s very nice Beaufighter.  They are just nasty.  Aussies replaced wing-mounted 8 X .303’s with 4 X .50 machine guns.  Teamed up with the 4 X 20mm cannon in the nose equals some real firepower.

Philippines:

  • 18 figures of bolomen for my Philippine project.  These were pretty easy to paint, and I enjoy painting them.  No rayadillo, mostly white, how tough can it be?
  • 12 figures of irregular riflemen.  I limited myself to three figures with rayadillo, which will probably be my standard going forward.

Ships:

  • One Dragon model of the HMS Zulu, a Tribal class destroyer.  Had an easier time building this than the Orwell, but struggled with the final colors.  Planned to do her as the HMS Eskimo, but just couldn’t get the gray on white paint scheme to work.  Note to self, use white primer next time.

Anti-aircraft

flak

 

I acquired many, many little boxes of anti-aircraft guns, missiles, transport and radars from George Kettler and the Phil Bardsley estate.  What to do with them?  I’m not sure, but I definitely can’t do anything with them if they aren’t painted.  I’m not sure what these are, but I painted four of ’em and stuck ’em on leftover Litko bases.  It’s a start, but plan to see more of them. Some are clearly WWII  German, others are Soviet and intended for Vietnam.  In either case, pretty easy stuff to paint.

December will be a lot more focused.  I’ll have to have plans made for Enfilade as game registration will open in early January.  More about those plans in my next post, but they involve lots of painting.

On My Painting Table

28mm British Legion-These are Old Glory British Legion.  Not the best figures, but perfectly serviceable. They are a big chunk of the painting I need to do for my AWI Rebels and Patriots game I’ll be working on with David Sullivan.  I like these figures.  Different poses in the saddle, decent detail, and the price is right. Not so large I shouldn’t be able to jam two on a 50mm circular base. I need 18 of them for our scenario.  I actually have 30, but twelve of them will get a fresh re-paint job from a game I ran a decade ago.

British Legion

1/300 A-4F Skyhawks-George passed on a pile of these to me a while back, and I truly appreciate it.  There were 18 humpy backed Skyhawks and I’ve decided to divide them equally between USMC and USN versions.  These are the later versions of the little attack plane that remained in service all the way through Desert Storm, and certainly fought off the North Vietnamese 1972 offensive. I’ll find something useful for them to do. The miniatures are from Scotia and NavWar/Heroics and Ros.  Decent miniatures. I’ve tried to equip them with ample drop tanks and bomb loads.  They’ll appear in light gull grey and white.

A-4s

What I’m Listening To

R-3646597-1338831253-8164.jpeg

I’ve really enjoyed having the two stereo systems so I can listen to music wherever I am.  Lots of great albums on the turntables, including The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Isley Brothers, The Grateful Dead and The Eagles. But I’ve really had a great time listening to a Roy Orbison anthology-The Monument Singles Collection 1960-1964.  This two LP set issued by Music On Vinyl has mono mixes of all the great Orbison songs from the early 60’s-“Pretty Woman,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” and my favorite “In Dreams” are all there in heart-rending glory with Roy’s absolutely inimitable voice.

Generally not a big fan of anthologies and Orbison has a zillion of them.  But he is also one of those artists who profited from the sale of ’45’s and not so much from LP sales.  This is definitely the best of the lot.