Daveshoe and I are running a Sunday game at Enfilade. We’re calling it 13 Days and it’s an American airstrike on a Soviet missile base in Cuba during the 1962 crisis. Don’t get us wrong. We don’t advocate such a thing and there is little question that such an intervention would have left large portions of the world still smoldering. Even so, I’ve always thought it might make an interesting game.
We’ll play using David Manley’s Air War C.21 rules, which are fairly easy to run for jet warfare. The planes are all 1:300 by Raiden. My challenge, as the chief painter of stuff, is to try and make the table look interesting-a missile site and its defenses gouged out of the jungle-without it being either too boring or so busy it gets in the way of game play. Most of that preparation will happen in six weeks or so as the weather improves so I can work on terrain pieces outside.
In the meantime, there’s lots I can do with miniatures. Last week I showed off some MiG-15’s and 19’s I began painting on Tuesday. I hoped to have them finished by the weekend. Did’t quite make it, but I’m pretty close. the Russian-built Cuban Air Force was pretty much natural metal in 1962. They were flying them as soon as they could bust ’em out of the crates. The Fagots entered service in 1961, and the Farmers the following year. I’ll also have MiG 21’s for the Cubans, though they weren’t ready for service until a couple of months after the crisis.
From left: MiG 15’s next to paint cap for size comparison. A row of MiG 19’s. MiG 19 in foreground with a pair of MiG 15’s as comparison. Raiden miniatures all-you can’t beat ’em, especially for the price.
The miniatures are from Raiden. I actually tried to do this project using miniatures from different manufacturers about 20 years ago. The Raiden planes are superior. The scale is consistent and the castings are crisper. They are painted with a base coat of Testors acrylic aluminum. Just black in the scribed areas for contrast. I paint the canopies ivory, which I know goes against the light metallic blue convention. Nobody makes Cuban markings, so I’m stuck painting my own. I tried applying decal numerals to the nose of the planes. It would have been no problem 20 years ago, but me, fingers, and eyesight could not quite cooperate, so I simply painted on numbers, such as they are.
As we move into March, I’ll be picking at my 13 Days stuff-trucks, AAA positions, and some buildings. But my main focus will be wrapping up the 29 remaining figures left to paint for the Aztec project.
MesoAmerican Body Count
I began thinking about and acquiring figures for the Quetzacoatl Rampant project in March or April of last year. I didn’t begin painting until last May, just before Enfilade. I’ve nearly painted everything in my possession, with a few figures to go around for all the participants. Let’s see what I’ve gotten done the last year.
I focused on the Spanish first and kept them deliberately small. We’ve learned they are super nasty if you can roll well enough to get them to move and shoot as required. I have two more units of swordsmen (rodeleros) left to paint for a total of 12 figures.
1 X 6 Cabaleros (mounted soldiers)
6 X 6 Rodelero (includes the 12 figures unpainted)
2 X 6 Arquebusiers
2 X 6 Crossbowmen
1 X 6 Hunting dog party
1 X 2 Cannon
Total Spanish figures are 74 plus two command figures
The Aztecs are one of those cases in which I feel like I have a lot more figures than I actually have. Sadly, that likely means more figures in my future. I have a lot, and I like what I have, but don’t feel like it’s enough to fight the battles I want to be able to fight:
2 X 12 Elite knights
1 X 12 Warrior priests
4 x 12 Suit wearers veteran warriors
6 X 12 levy warriors
6 X 6 skirmishers
That’s 192 painted figures plus a dozen various command figures. I have five figures of Aztec high command types that are not painted, but they have my immediate attention and should be done by the end of the week. The 13 melee combat units simply aren’t enough. Plenty of skirmishers. I see myself blowing the army out to 18 melee units with three retinues of six mixed quality melee units and two units of skirmishers each. Eureka figures of course.
The Tlaxcalans were the most important of Cortez’s native allies. They are also kind of cool. I have one twelve figure unit of heron warriors left to paint and I’m pretty excited to paint them. These are the units I will have:
1 X 12 archers
4 X 12 veteran warriors (includes 12 figures unpainted)
3 X 12 levy warriors
4 X 6 skirmishers
7 X 6 baggage carriers.
It’s a nice collection, equal to 162 figures. I feel like the Tlaxcalans are a bit unbalanced and need more levy warriors. I could see adding another 3 X 12 units, but don’t feel quite the urgency as I do for the Aztecs. I’ve come to really like the figures by Outpost miniatures for these guys, so future minis will come from this underrated English supplier.
My so far completed Tlaxcalans. I think there’s enough room to squeeze in one more unit.
So for the last eight months or so I’ve managed to paint about 430 figures for this project, including the remaining 29, plus some command figure hangers on. Admittedly, it’s not quite the same as painting the Old Guard with cuffs, turnbacks and lace, but it’s still a lot for an old guy like me. I’ve even squeezed some other stuff in between, with a few orcs for my slowly expanding Dragon Rampant army, and getting started on 13 Days.