Dorian Hawkmoon and his men

It’s been a while since I last posted about Hawkmoon.  I’ve finished three of the Eureka units and I’m enjoying the heck out of them.  The figures themselves are painted pretty plain and according to the details included in the Hawkmoon stories.  Plain black jerkin over brown leather or mail.  Not exciting and pretty easy.  I’ve tried to highlight the black with charcoal wherever possible.

The army Hawkmoon commands is from the region for France called Camargue.  It lies in the south of France on the near the Mediterranean, in the delta of the Rhone river.  The terrain is marshy and this swampy ground figures into Moorcock’s story.

For those not familiar with the Hawkmoon tales, the stories take place in various locations, but are chiefly centered in a post-apocalyptic Europe, taking place after the Tragic Millenium.  Moorcock changes the names of the locations, but they aren’t terribly difficult to figure out.  The bad guys come from Gran Bretan and its capital of Londra. Hawkmoon himself is the Duke of Koln. The last refuge of civility in Europe is the Kamarg, site of Castle Brass in the town of Aigues-Mortes.

I bought the Eureka Miniatures to build a Dragon Rampant army.  I’ve bought enough figures to build five units, plus an artillery piece, plus three heroes.  Though I’ve jotted some notes down, there is no way the figures I bought and am painting will come in anything close to the 30 points normally allowed for tournament play.  I mostly avoid tournaments like the plague, so maybe it doesn’t matter.


The archers were very easy to paint. I might have done better just to paint some of my many HYW longbowmen, but I painted up the official figures just so I could be regulation.  Not a lot happening with them.  I added an officer figure, but the miniature was nice.  Their big advantage is they’re cheap points-wise as light missiles.


The spearmen were more interesting.  Still your basic black, but lots of leather to add to them.  I especially like the poses for these guys, though I’m thinking thinking they should probably have shields.  The range has lots of very heavy standard bearers.  They are also quite tall, which makes finding a suitable box a bit of a challenge.  Unfortunately, Moorcock is quite explicit in his books about the standard.  A plain white flag with a red gauntlet. Lots of folds in the miniature, so even that simple device is a bit difficult to portray fully.


I had a blast painting the mounted flame lancers.  These are the Guardians of Kamarg and are among the elite corps.  I don’t know if they will be mounted heavy missiles or something else. Still thinking on it. The horned horses of Kamarg come in two pieces, with the heads separate.  Each is unique, so it was important to get them properly lined up for correct fit. The horses have little saddle or tack foolery to fuss over, but the horses are anatomically coherent, remembering that horses could have evolved from our own time. (There’s one that seems built a lot my dog Rusty–long and short legged.) The armor on the horses is a little fiddly and a bit difficult to properly get at, but definitely nothing major to fuss about.

Flame Lancers 1

Mounted figures always present a conundrum for me.  Do I hold them in my hand and paint them, or do I stick ’em on the horse?  I’ve done it both ways and, well, I’m not sure I have the right answer. In this case I decided to prime ’em and hold ’em.  It worked fine.  There were only six, and I painted them in stages, and took the time to Dullcoat them as I went on so I could avoid re-painting. They were fairly uniform in appearance with variations on the black jerkin.  The flame lance, a kind of laser/cum flamethrower with its ruby tip made them interesting. And then the really big standard too.

I decided to mount them on 3-2-1 bases, except for the cavalry who are on 2-2-1-1 bases.


I decided not to use the Eureka Hawkmoon figure as my hero.  It seems generic and really doesn’t look like the Hawkmoon figure.  i opted for nostalgia instead, going with my very old Citadel Hawkmoon with the Dacian shield pattern.  No it isn’t a decal; I hand painted that 30+ years ago.

I still have a ways to go.  I have a unit of Kamarg light horse.  They’ll probably be next on my list.  Then it is the citizenry of the Kamarg with swords and axes.  They’ll add some color.  Then it is my sorcerous artillery and the remaining heroes, Count Brass and Oladahn of the Bulgar Mtns. They look great and are quite in character with  the books.


A Mad Wet Max update and other excitement.


From farthest to nearest, Specter, Stag Beetle, and Water Mocassin, race around the course.  Specter would be the sole survivor of various collisions, minings, and a myriad of attacks.

Yesterday was Drumbeat.  It was late this year due to the passing of the Lake City Community Center to the Seattle Parks Department. It was difficult getting scheduled and the cost was given a stiff boost.  Not good for organizations like ours.  Unfortunately the get together got pushed into my ridiculously busy time of year.

Due to a family commitment I was only able to schedule for the morning session.  Dave and I agreed it was important to run one more session of Mad Wet Max before Enfilade. We had five fabulous volunteers and I’m really glad we had the opportunity for one more play-test.

The game was so much different than our earlier game at Meeples.  We had five players, all very nice guys.  Some I knew well, others not so much.  Some had experience racing boats in Thunderboats!, others did not. Rather than give a blow by blow, let me just offer main points

  1. This was a much bloodier game.  In our Meeples match-up with four players only one boat sank-mine.  In the Drumbeat run-off, only one boat survived.
  2. Lots of collisions-usually resulting in event cards or significant hull damage to the collider.
  3. Mines continue to be nasty.  One player dropped a mine on a buoy hex.  Seemed like a great idea, until he realized he had to go back to the buoy to win the race.
  4. Lots of shooting, much more than at Meeples.  Also lots of misses. Certainly the shooting was instrumental in the losses.
  5. The parascenders were pretty effective until one of the players drew a water in the intake card and had to go to idle throttle.

After the game, Dave and I made our way to the Elliot Bay Brewery to debrief.  I tried the Lake City Way IPA, which was tasty but strong. We agreed on a couple of changes and additions.

  • Each player needs access to a fire and damage table with to-hit values of weapons as they fire, and the damage they do. Dave agreed to make this table.
  • Because there are so many different dice in the game (currently Formula De dice, D10 and D6) we agreed to change the fire and damage tables entirely to D10.  It will be less confusing and eliminate the D6
  • Some players struggled out of the gate to make effective use of their build points.  We agreed to provide them with a Tips and Tricks sheet on the back of the new fire and damage table.  I am working on that.

Overall, however, the players seemed to enjoy the game, and despite our efforts to make it a little easier to get in to, Dave and I are happy with the way things turned out. The only thing we haven’t added are the various “spectators” who are armed and take potshots at the various drivers.  I’m thinking we’ll probably try some of Khurasan’s modern or Zombie ranges.  We don’t need many figures, certainly less than 20 15mm figures.

Announcements, announcements, announcements . . .

My wife and I have been in lengthy discussions as the current school year bends toward its inevitable end. We’ve agreed that I will, all things being equal, retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year.  So that’s about a year and a half out.  This is my first semi-official announcment.  I’ll be nearly 64 and have 36 years in the teaching biz. I want to let go before I’m that bitter and cranky old bastard who should have walked out earlier.

What am I working on?

Painted spearmen, left,  Unpainted Guardians armed with flame lances mounted on the horned horses of the Kamarg.  Both from Eureka’s Hawkmoon range.

I’m mixing a couple of different things right now.  I’m working on the Eureka Hawkmoon figs.  I’ve finished the archer figures and am currently mounting a dozen of the spearman figs.  I like the miniatures.  They are pretty expensive for the quality of the figures.  They aren’t bad, but they aren’t brilliant.  At #3.10 a throw for infantry and more than $6.50 for a mounted figure I’d hope they had a tish more detail, something made them more uniquely soldiers of the Kamarg. I suppose Eureka may be viewing them as a limited run and therefore worthy of the cost.

I’m trading off the Hawkmoon project with working on some HYW longbowmen.  I’ll complete 28 of them until I run out of bases. These figures will go toward my dream project of a big battle set of rules for the period that more accurately reflect the unique conditions of the Hundred Years War.  Messed around with something once upon a time, but with retirement in the offing I can afford to dream large.

When I run out of bases, I’ll move on to more aircraft for Malta.  I have plenty.


Giving Airwar 1940 a spin

Back in November I shared my plan to find a new set of air rules to replace the Mustangs rules we’ve played since the past century. I also suggested we’d gotten a leg up from David Manley, author of Airwar C.21. After reading my lament about wishing there was an equivalent version David sent a copy to Dave Schueler who passed them along to me. I read them over and was pretty happy.  They seemed very familiar with some significant differences for the period.  We promised to play them as soon as possible

Malta Grand Harbor

Looking down the throat of Valetta’s harbor. We used the 2D Topside Miniatures as targets for the bombers. Game mat is by Tiny Mats in the UK.

As soon as possible always signifies a nebulous future.  But yesterday was the big day.  We planned to schlep my Malta stuff up to Meeples and try an initial game. I hoped to accomplish a few things:

  1. Try out the rules in as painless a manner as possible.  So we agreed an unescorted stream of a dozen Italian bombers would attack targets in Valetta’s Grand Harbor. This would avoid all the complications that would go with dogfighting
  2. The harbor would be defended by some Hurricane I’s and Fulmars.  All eight gun fighters.  It would give us a chance to see how the relatively lightly-armed fighters would do against moderately okay bombers.
  3. I’d get to show off my Valetta mat from Tiny Mats in the UK, as well as some of the zillions of planes I’ve painted for the Malta project.

We got the bombers set up, entering the board from the closed land end of the board.  We grouped them in threes: nine SM-79’s and three Cant Z 1007’s. We mostly followed the auto-bomber suggestions in the rules.

Malta-Italian bombers 2

The bomber stream. Photo taken behind the Cant Z 1007’s. One Scotia bomber and a couple whose maker I can’t quite determine. These follow the three groups of SM-79’s

The game moved pretty quickly.  The bombers had a top speed of eight inches per turn, and the Hurricanes had a maximum closing speed of 11 inches. For the most part the ‘Canes could stay engaged throughout without making any special maneuvers.

The British fighters took plenty of shots at the bombers, but with their rifle bullet armament, they had difficulty inflicting a lot of damage before the bombers reached their target.  One SM-79 was shot down by a combination of fighter attacks and flak. Two more were crippled and dropped their bomb loads early.  A few of the fighters suffered nicks and scrapes, but all made it back to their airfields safely after running out of ammunition. Nine of the bombers made it to their targets, each dropping three bombs.  They needed a “0” to hit on a ten-sided die, and we had Henry, a fellow who joined out game roll the hits and damage.  Henry was oh-for 27.

Malta - Hurricane attacks 2

Hurricanes rip into the bomber formation. The Hurricanes are by Raiden Miniatures.

A couple of observations. First, this game was very easy to play and very familiar.  I really liked that.  However, the eight-gun fighters really struggled. All the players (including me, I ran the Fulmars) rolled even average or slightly below, and with the planes rolling so few dice, their chances of doing serious damage was unlikely.  The light/medium .303’s get one die per three guns rounded up.  Heavy machine guns (the Italian bombers) get one die per gun, 20mm cannon (Hurricane IIc’s) get two dice per gun. together with their limited ammunition supply the fighters were between a rock and a hard place.  They could improve their chances by firing extended bursts, but that expended their ammo even more quickly. Really, the Hurricanes could only make four passes before they were done.

Malta - Hurricane attacks

Another look as the bombers creep closer to their targets.

Malta - Bombs Away

The bombers let go of their bomb loads, roll astonishingly badly and come up empty.

We made the decision to change the flak rules a bit.  The 1940 rules were pretty similar to the jet age rules that target individual planes.  Because the WWII bomber flew in closer formations they would be more likely to suffer from the kind of area fire.  So when the bomber formations encountered flak, each plane would have to roll. Only one plane was actually hit, but the damage could be massive. We’re still messing with this a bit.

Overall, however, I really enjoyed the game and the rules. Admittedly, it was only two dimensional without escorting fighters.  But I thought it was a great first time out, and leaves me anxious for more.  Dave and I will be using Airwar 1940 for our attack on the Illustrious scenario we run at Enfilade.

Thanks to David Manley for trusting us with his rules and giving us the opportunity to try them out.



Next on the docket: Dragon Rampant

I’ve gotten a lot done in January.  I finished my six boats for Mad Wet Max, ordered two more and they are currently under construction.  All eight will be ready to go for Drumbeat on March 3rd.  Actually, if all goes as planned they’ll be ready to by this Sunday, but my life is moving into the busy season so we’ll just have to see.

Italian Bombers

The last of my Italian bombers in the middle of getting markings. The three twin tailed bombers are Cant Z1007s. In the foreground, the smaller bomber is a very nice Scotia SM 79.  They were fun to paint.

I’ve also painted a whole lot of planes for Malta.  The WWII Siege of Malta lasted two years and the air battles over the little island went through seven stages, with different planes being introduced throughout the various phases.  I’ve painted 18 British fighters (Skuas, Fulmars, Hurricane I’s and Hurricane IIc’s,) 12 Italian bombers (SM. 79’s and Cant 1007’s,) 18 Italian fighters (Fiat G.50’s, and Macchi SC 200’s) and 10 German bombers (all Stukas) They were fun to fiddle with, and I need more to be ready for phase 1 and 2.  But later, I’m moving on to something else.

Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant have really taken off.  I think I have Lion Rampant covered with about 600 painted figures. All they need is remounting.  Ugh.  But lots of guys are playing Dragon Rampant, and I don’t really have such a thing.  That’s a lie, but I can’t make myself paint all my GW Lord of the Rings stuff.  No, I don’t know why, I am just not in that mental space.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to build a small army that would be distinct and could take advantage of the unique fantasy experience Dragon Rampant offers.

Dave bought me some of the Eureka Hawkmoon figures for my birthday.  Really kind of a sampler of what was available.  A couple spearmen, some swordsmen, archers and personality figures.  They are all quite nice  The problem was there weren’t enough interesting nasties to make a good Dragon Rampant.  You have to have at least one monster, spellcaster or something magical or you’re just fighting another medieval army.


This is NOT a Eureka figure, though I have the Eureka figure of Dorian Hawkmoon.  This is one of Citadel’s Eternal Champion set from the 1980’s.  Hawkmoon with sword, shield and flame lance. The black jewel in his forehead identifies him as the Duke of Koln. I ran across these figures last night as I was scrounging through my lead pile, hoping I might find them.  Alan and Michael Perry contributed to the design of these figures.  Trust me, you can tell.  They’re amazing.

Eureka has released it’s second pile of minis for the Hawkmoon range, including mounted (horse) flame lancers.  A flame lance is sort of a cross between a flame-thrower and a beam weapon. That’s cool. So I’ve ordered enough figures to create an army as follows:

1 X 12 figures archers

1 X 12 figures heavy infantry

1 X 12 figures spearmen

1 X 6 figures mounted guardians with flame lance

1 X 6 figures light horse

3 X 1 heroes of the Kamarg

1 Magical cannon with crew

Not a ton of stuff, but it will keep me off the streets for a while.

For those not in the know, Hawkmoon is a hero in Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion cycle.  Written in the 60’s and 70’s, I devoured these when I was in my 20’s-the stories of virtually all Moorcock’s protagonists.  Moorcock is described as the anti-Tolkien.  He’s heroes are often less than heroic.  Dorian Hawkmoon is, if anything, probably the most straightforward of Moorcock’s champion, fighting against the forces of Granbretan in a post apocalyptic world.  He serves Count Brass who rules over the Kamarg as the forces of Granbretan savagely conquers the world around them.  Hawmoon goes around the world gathering mystical and mysterious allies arms and delightfully wicked enemies.

Eureka is also making the Granbretan forces too, but I don’t know if I’ll go there.  We’ll see.

Music to Paint By

Ah Via Musicom

I think I’ve written about my fondness for the music of Texas guitar genius Eric Johnson.  Johnson has been recording since the mid-80’s but is such a perfectionist he turns out new stuff quite rarely.  I would charcterize his style as a jazz-rock fusion with a occasional country themes thrown in because he’s from Texas.

Johnson’s best known album is Ah-Via-Musicom from 1993.  It is just plain really damn good. He is fast, but melodic, and always just interesting. My favorite song, hell everybody’s favorite song is the instrumental “Cliffs of Dover,” which just leaves me shaking my head wondering how he did that. He leavens his pure white heat with some solid, if fairly tame vocals.  “High Landrons,” “Forty Mile Town,” Righteous,” you could name them all, there are no wasted tracks.

Ah Via Musicom was recorded during the death of vinyl, so the an LP was simply not attainable at any price for a very long time. However, today is the day Friday Music re-released the album on vinyl, and my pre-ordered copy was waiting for me when I came home.  If you’ve heard Johnson’s work before and like it, waste no time.  This record is available on-line from Friday Music

But just to put the icing on the cake, as I was browsing the Seattle concert scene during Christmas break, I checked Johnson’s tour schedule.  Lo and behold, he was coming to Seattle tomorrow night at the Triple Door.  Needless to say I’m going.  Yes Virginia, there is a rock god.


Mad Wet Max Playtest: Beyond Thunderboats

Dave Schueler, Dave Demick, my son Casey and I all met at Meeples today for a playtest of Mad Wet Max. Can’t say we were disappointed.

If you live in Seattle and are looking for a fun, community space to game, I can’t recommend Meeples highly enough.  Love the cafe, and we generally take over a table space for board games or miniature games. We glommed on to a long table about 6′ X 40″, much smaller than the Enfilade table we’ve reserved for the four of us to play on.

A few games of Incan Gold later and after scarffing down some food, we were ready to play the game.  We play MWM on a hex mat.  Our mat has really big hexes.  It was designed for seaplane racing with 1/48th scale planes, so the hexes are about 6′ across. Plenty of room for a boat on a 4″ X 2″ base. However it does provide less space for maneuver and my concern going into the game was that there would be too little.  That turned out not to be a problem.

Mad Wet Max Game

Dave Schueler in Red Scorpion and Dave Demick’s Stag Beetle circle buoy 2 and watch as Casey’s Water Moccasin limps to victory across the table. Alas my Tiger Shark has already slipped beneath the silken waters. The two Daves are separated by a small island with a jump.  The boats are mounted on 2″ X 4″ bases.

Because this game is not simply a circular race course, set up was different.  We set up the board with three numbered buoys plus a buoy representing the finish line. Racers must pass through the hex with each of the numbered buoys three times before crossing the finish line to complete the game.  They may be passed in any order, but no single buoy may be passed consecutively  So for example, a boat may pass buoys 1, 3, 2, but may not pass buoy 2 again without passing a different buoy first. At Enfilade I will have tokens for each of the buoys, and a driver will receive a token each time they pass a buoy that they must display so everyone knows where they are in the race.

Race boats are a bit different than in Thunderboats.  In that game a boat is a boat is a boat, and players spend points on driver quality, re-rolls and strengthening the hull and engines for against risky maneuvers.  In MWM the boats are all armed differently, and can’t be changed.  Every boat starts the game with three hull points  and three engine points.  They receive 16 points to buy the usual Thunderboats stuff, including hull and engine points which WILL be damaged during the course of the game.

We divided the board into sectors, and drivers rolled where they entered the mat.  Seeemed to work well with four.  Might be a bit trickier with eight.  Order of play was also by die roll, because the rules in Thunderboats make the leading boat go first–not the same situation in MWM.

The game turned into quite the scrum, and is hard to describe, except that all drivers quickly tried to line up on a buoy and figure out how to line up on an an enemy .  Casey shot at me on turn one, and I shot as often as I could, however, I didn’t let it distract me from the job of getting to buoys.  The board was cluttered with terrain pieces, including some jumps over shallows a la “Live and Let Die” which kept things a bit interesting.

My boat, Tiger Shark, was the only one with a parascender, a soldier floating on the breeze towed behind my boat.  Parascenders are armed with grenades and mine managed to drop one on Daveshoe’s boat, causing minor hull damage, it was fun.

About an hour into the game, it was clear the players were really starting to figure it out.  The usual Thunderboats stuff of pushing engines and corner to get to the buoys as quickly as possible, with shooting happening incidentally, but not in ways that distracted from player objectives. My last turn I pushed my engine for a 14, ran adjacent to a mine (that’s three rolls to pass), crossed two buoys, made a jump and pushed two corners to make a buoy, all with one hull factor left.  I did great until the last corner push when I had to draw an event card on the die roll, drew a hard bounce, took two points of hull damage and became a sinking obstacle.

That was the turn before Casey, with his stalled engine, made his way across the finish line after passing all three buoys.  It was really fun.  I think all the players passed all three buoys twice and were working their way to the last ticks. Everyone took their shots (shooting happens at the beginning or end of the turn, and each boat can fire one weapon per turn until ammunition runs out.)

Games like this are always aimed at learning about the game system and what if anything needs to change.  That was especially true give the difference between our hex mat and David Manley’s.  We made range changes to reflect this prior to the game.  These seemed to work.  The really nasty weapons in the game weren’t the rockets or parascenders, it was the mines. They affect the hex they are in and all adjacent hexes, and with our sized hexes that’s a lot of space.  Currently there are two boats with a total of four mines in the game.  Plus mortar misses become active mines, and there are four mortar tubes, so a total of eight mines, can be dropped from the six boats currently in service. I will add two more boats and they certainly won’t be mine carriers.  We have enough.

Still lots of risk taking, and lots of fun, and because it’s not linear as Thunderboats! is, many more paths to victory. Hope to try it again in February. Scheduled Mad Wet Max at Enfilade on Friday evening and Sunday morning.  Hope to see some of you there.

Working with Mad Wet Max

Thunderboats! and hydroplane racing are a big part of my gaming life.  Still are.  I’ve run Thunderboats! at every Enfilade for most of the last ten years, and I really hear about it if I decide to do something else. And lo, there will be Thunderboats! at Enfilade 2018 in the very first game period on Friday afternoon.

But we got an interesting tweak on Thunderboats! when David Manley shared his derivation of the racing game, Mad Wet Max on his blog. If you don’t know David, he has designed most of the games Dave Schueler and I work with.  Close Action for WWII coastal actions, Buldogs Away for modern small vessel combat, AirWar C.21 for modern air combat–all David Manley.  He’s also kindly lent us some beta copies of rules, Lord of the Seas for medieval naval warfare, and recently a copy of some WWII air rules similar to AW C21. David’s games, which I admire most for their period feel without opacity or being too fiddly, are on sale at Wargames Vault through A and A Games, or Long Face Games.

In any case, David shared some information regarding his development of Thunderboats! on his blog in August that just looked too cool to ignore. It’s a hydroplaneish combat game. He sent rules on to Dave and I and we hope to give them a try this Saturday at Meeples in West Seattle.

Won’t get into the rules much, at least not until we play them a time or two. Let’s just say the racers have to meet some traveling objectives, and they can use their armaments to prevent their competitors from meeting theirs.

The basis of any boat racing game is, of course, the boats. I ordered some fairly inexpensive Matchbox boats from eBay.  I think I got about 12 boats for $25.  They were two orders with lots of variety.  I chose six of them I wanted to use, and I’m going to get a couple more.  The problem is scale, some of the boats represent something much larger than is intended for the game, so you have to be choosy.  I passed some of my duplicates on to Dave Schueler so he could have some, but I’d like to add a couple more to my six.  Eight boats for Enfilade.

Out of the Blue is armed with a pair of rocket launchers, a machine gun and will tow a parascender behind to drop grenades in boats that are a little too close.

Once I chose my boats I had to modify them.  The first thing I did was use my Dremel tool with sanding disk to strip off all the paint and decals.In some cases, I also made some modifications.  The Tiger Shark had a big tail, which I removed.  All had wheels I cut off.

Red Scorpion 1

Red Scorpion is armed with  a short barreled cannon with balky ammunition and a shotgun. It is protected  by mesh armor.

The next step is to determine armament.  Manley included a variety of weapons in his rules, including rocket launchers, mortars, mine droppers, machine guns and small arms. I added the rocket, mortar and mine dropper tubes, and will factor in most of the small arms to the modified Thunderboat! cards. I used simple brass tubing I cut with my Dremel tool, and then sanded the rough edges off. Careful, the tubing heats up quickly. I usually drilled in a small piece of brass wire where I wanted the tubes to go, before slipping them over the wire and gluing in place. That seemed better than drilling gigantic holes for the tubes. For the game, each tube usually has one round.  Once it has fired, it’s gone.  It’s better to spread the armament and ammunition around because there are gun hits in the game rules. For the most part there are 2-4 tubes per boat, and small arms-mgs, shotguns, pistols have 4-6 turns of fire.

Specter is armed with four rocket launchers and a machine gun.

Once the armament was positioned, I primed and painted them.  If you’ve ever seen The Road Warrior, you’ll recall that Max’s adversaries are driving vehicles that aren’t pretty and painted to a high gloss.  I chose paint schemes that aren’t pretty with lots of washing and dry brushing.

Stag Beetle 1

Stag Beetle is armed with a pair of mortars, a mine dropper, and a machine gun.

I did decide to mount my boats on bases.  Our situation is a bit different than David’s.  He plays on a mat with 2″ hexes, while ours are 5′ hexes.  Boats got to fit in a hex, and the bases seemed fine.  I went with 4″ X 2″ bases.  Some seemed a bit large, other boats barely fit on theirs. I went with 3mm hobby plywood from Michaels after choosing some 3/32 basswood.  I applied Liquitex Modeling paste to the  basswood and it warped badly, so I made the change to plywood. I used Vallejo Pastel Green as my base coat, then washed over it with Dark Prussian Blue, followed by khaki.  Then I drybrushed Ceramcoat Ivory over the top.  Coated the lot with Liquitex acrylic gloss gel, and voila, complete.

Tiger Shark 1

Tiger Shark is armed with a pair of mortars, a rocket launcher, a machine gun, and flies a parasceder

Well almost. David’s boats had some impromptu mesh armor, which I thought was really cool.  I couldn’t quite figure out what he used to make it, but I poked around in a craft store and decided that burlap strips, sprayed black might look okay too. I’ve tried to protect a few of the boats with this material, and kind of like the way it turned out.

The Water Moccasin mounts a pair of rocket launchers, two mine droppers and a shotgun. 

I haven’t written about the parascenders and think I’ll wait until after Saturday’s gathering to show and tell.





You Can Never Have Too Much Stuff

I’ve been trying some new stuff recently.  Maybe you’ve been looking at some of this and are wondering if it’s worth your hard earned bucks.  This is my consumer review based on my experiences, but sometimes it just helps to have another perspective, just in case.

Vallejo Air color

Vallejo Air Colors—I bought a set of these last year for my Cuban Missile Crisis game.  The Modern USAF set of colors.  Eight bottles for about $25. I ordered from Amazon, and actually I ordered the Navy colors, but these worked out fine. Having had success I went on to order the WWII German colors 1942-45, and the German tropical and Mediterranean set, the British tropical and Mediterranean set, and the U.S. in Burma, China and SE. Asia.

First, the cost is about what you’d pay for individual bottles of Vallejo paint, so no big difference there.  I also appreciate that the colors are accurate.  The alternative would be to go to Testor’s Enamels, and I’d do almost anything not to do that.

There is a downside, and that is that these pigments are very fine ground and intended for air brush use. While I have an air brush, I’d never use it on 1/300 scale planes. The colors generally will require multiple thin coats. So, I counsel patience.  Good stuff but a trade-off.

Vallejo Rack

Vallejo Paint Rack—This was a Christmas gift from my wife.  I’d suggested it on my massive list of Christmas choices.  Also available through Amazon for about $20,  it is made of laser-cut plywood.  It had fairly mixed reviews by users, so I was a little concerned about the quality of materials and breakage.

I assembled mine last night with little difficulty in about 15 minutes.  Mine is the center rack, ie rectangle shaped.  I could also add corner racks, but that seems unlikely.  It holds 60 bottles of the dropper style paints—so Vallejo, Reaper, and other paints in this style-as well as space for  eight larger bottles—I keep a few Ceramcoats and the Vallejo washes in them.  There is also a rack for paint brushes, but I’m not currently using that. Paint storage was really getting to be a problem for me, so this seems to offer a solution.

The downside is the size of the rack.  I have a pretty sizable craft desk space, so it should work for me, for others who don’t I can see it being a problem.  As with all organizing solutions, the effectiveness is often determined by whether or not I use it, so that remains to be seen.  But for twenty bucks, it’s worth the gamble to find out.

Tiny Wargames UK Battle Mats—I’ve never purchased a game mat before, but I’ve looked at the Cigar Box mats and others with interest.  One day the Aerial Wargaming Facebook group featured a mat by the British maker Tiny Wargames Battle UK Mats, and I got a bit more interested.  They offered a 20% off Black Friday deal, and I asked Lorri about Christmas, and she went for it. I was very interested in the 6’ X 4’ mat with a screen print of Valetta, Malta harbor. I sent in my order on November 29th, and it arrived within a couple of weeks.

You can judge for yourself by the photo of the harbor, but I think it’s spectacular. So the product is great and so was the service. Not quite sure what material it is printed on, but it feels similar to a table cloth.  If there is a downside, it is the cost.  Even with the savings, including shipping it was about 90 bucks.  To me, it was worth it, you’d have to make your own decision. You can get them with or without a superimposed hex grid.

Tiny Wargames offers mats screenprinted for Pearl Harbor and Taranto Harbor as well as a lot of really interesting, but more generic terrain.  They also offer sizes from 3′ X 3′ to as large as 10′ X 5′.  The bigger the mat the lighter your wallet.

Army Painter Brushes

Army Painter brushes-The past couple of years I’ve been in a brush crisis.  I’ve written many times about my fondness for Blick Master Kolinsky brushes.  But after the Kolinsky sable ban of a few years ago, their availability has just fallen off the table, and the cost of Kolinsky brushes has skyrocketed. I keep thinking I should just buy some Windsor and Newton Series 7’s (if I can find them) and shut up about it all. But they are really expensive.

So I’ve resorted to using some of the white-handled Army Painter brushes.  I gotta say I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The two things most important to me in a brush is  they hold a point, and they hold paint.  Generally speaking I find these brushes do that.  A third factor I appreciate is longevity—do I get plenty of use out of them?—and for the most part I do. So, big enough to hold effective quantities of paint, they hold a point, and they don’t lose their points or start falling apart quickly.

I can buy these at my local bricks and mortar stores for five bucksish, or order them in sets for about fifteen dollars. They are made of sable hair and some include some synthetics too. I generally down like synthetics because they lose their shape, and usually quite quickly.  But that doesn’t seem to be a problem with these brushes. The only downside, and this is for the picky-me, is they aren’t categorized by size in a standard way, they are instead, cutesy-named as Regiment, or Insane Detail, when all I’m really looking for is 0, or 1.  If you can set this aside, I’ve found these to be solid brushes and a good value.