Straight lines are not my friend

Less than a week until Enfilade.  I’m really looking forward to this convention.  I’ve been more or less in a miniature gaming desert for the past six months.  I’m excited about running some games and seeing some friends.

My last posts were about the travails of assembling 1/300 biplanes.  But ultimately I got all ten miniatures done in time for a walkthrough of our Channel Dash scenario at Dave’s house last weekend.


An okay photo of Atlas and Pay N Pak.  Doesn’t quite do justice to Atlas’ dreadful lining job.

That left me two hydroplanes to paint for my Friday evening game at the convention: Thunderboats: The Rise of the Pickleforks.

I’ve been picking my way through the picklefork hulls I bought a few years ago at the convention. For those who aren’t in the know, the picklefork hull design became popular in hydroplane racing in the 1970’s, providing a wider, safer hull design. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when I lived in California and forever lost touch with hydroplane racing until my interest in this project. So the boats from the period I don’t know as well as those from the “classic” 1950’s and ’60’s era.  There also seem to be fewer pictures on the web from the 70’s, until the massive switch over to turbine powered boats.  Weird, but true.

The two boats I had left to paint have identical hulls, and are limited to just a couple of boats.  The most obvious paint scheme was the “Winged Wonder” Miss Pay N Pak from 1974.  The second is really the same boat when it became the Miss Atlas Van Lines. in 1976.  The Pak was very successful in this iteration, the Atlas, not quite so much.  For the Atlas crew this was very much a transitional boat to Bill Muncey’s famous “Blue Blaster” that would eventually take his life.

Needless to say, it is a very cool hull design.  But like the other boats from this period, both were a gigantic pain in the ass to paint. Generally speaking, the earlier three point hydros were block colors with some special marking, font scheme, or number that made them unique.  The pickleforks, because they sit lower in the water and have enormous decks, tend to use quantities of straight lines, often piped in a contrasting colors.

Pay N Pak is a perfect example.  The entire deck is lined in orange piped black.  Even the name fits into the lining and piping scheme.  It was a nightmare to paint.  Because I’m an impatient boob, I refused to take the time to tape this out.  At five feet it doesn’t look bad.  At twelve inches, not so good. Painting straight lines with perfectly even distribution of paint off the brush is really hard.  At least it’s hard for me.

As difficult as Pay N Pak was, Atlas was even harder.  Trying to keep the alternating light and dark blue lines of uniform width was incredibly difficult.  I kept comparing photos on my iPad to what I was painting on my boat, only to realize there was earlier iteration of the Atlas with the same colors, but an entirely different lining scheme.  At one point I ended up sanding the whole thing down and starting over.  But mercifully, it’s done. Not perfect but not bad.


All six pickleforks.  I’d like to do more and am hoping to snag some more at the convention next weekend.

So I’ve wrapped up all six of my picklefork hulls.  I’m hoping Shawn is at the convention with a few more to sell.  It’s the only purchase I’m really hankering to make.  At the bring and buy, I’m also hoping I might find a couple of rules sets.  Some guys on TMP have suggested a modification of Peter Pig’s AK 47 for the Spanish Civil War.  Wouldn’t mind taking a look a that.  I’m also interested in a copy of Sharp’s Practice as a possible rules choice for my America vs Spain conflict.

What’s on my painting table.


Fairly washed out by the flash, some Spanish swordsmen for Quetzacoatl Rampant.  Hoping to have the first eight or so finished before the convention.

Had a really enjoyable painting day yesterday.  Finished up the hydros and moved on to painting Eureka’s Spanish swordsmen for Quezacoatl Rampant, our little wars in Mesoamerica adaptation of Lion Rampant.  I have sixteen figures primed with enough on the way to give me four units of six figures each.  More to come as I finish more figures.

With Enfilade more or less out of the way, I’m freed up to work on what I please.  The various Rampants are at the top of the list, though I’m hoping to also knock out my Irish Civil War figures and my four remaining ships–all large masted vessels– for the American Civil War.

Music to paint by

Cheap Trick

The annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction always reminds of the music I don’t know well, or that I’ve overlooked in my collection. This year Cheap Trick entered the Rock Hall. They are actually a band I do know something about.  I saw the Tricksters in concert twice in the late 70’s when they were less well known.  They were great-really great- and incredibly loud. They might have been the loudest band I’ve ever heard.  But they were always energetic and a lot of fun.

So the upshot is, I’ve identified seven of their albums as a mini-collection.  It’s not complete, but it’s their best records.  Sadly I had a few of these once upon a time. I was able to pick up their 1977 debut, entitled simply Cheap Trick for five bucks on Discogs, and yesterday I listened on the Rega.  It’s a great record, very much in line with In Color and Heaven Tonight with very upbeat melodies and catchy lyrics.  Need to listen to it a couple more times.  Guitarist Rick Nielsen does almost all the writing, and its just great stuff. Very listenable, played best LOUD.

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