You die, he dies, everybody dies: the America Rampant playtest

As promised, today Dave Schueler and I dropped in at Meeples to try out the America Rampant adaptation of The Men Who Would Be King. I knew we’d be playing on a pretty small table, probably 5′ X 3′.  So I couldn’t have too many units out there. Thursday and Friday I took every minute I could to remount enough figures to play the game.

I settled on a simple scenario idea, the search for cannon captured and hidden by the Miamis at the Battle of the Wabash in 1791.  It was a good idea, but the scenario played poorly in execution. But it did give us a good look at my basic ideas and I’ve got to say they were two thumbs up.

TMWWBK plays like a super cleaned up version of Lion Rampant, and why anyone wouldn’t create house rules to adopt those changes is beyond me. Free actions.  An activation failure just means move on to the next unit. It all made for a good flowing game.

America Rampant changes the game from a rifle dominated game to one in which melee in close terrain is more likely.  In our little game, casualties through muskets and close combat played a part in the game.

i hoped to learn two things from our little playtest:

  1. Did my remount make sense from a game context?
  2.  Did the rules adaptation work from a mechanical and historical standpoint?

The Remount

The remount was not easy. Lots of steps.

  1. Figures were pried from their bases.
  2. Glued to their new bases.
  3. Modeling paste applied to bases
  4. Bases painted with Burnt Umber
  5. Bases dry brushed with Trail Tan
  6. Apply Woodland Scenics turf
  7. Glue in clump foliage
  8. Final touch up and Dullcote

It was time-consuming, and it took every spare minute I could summon Thursday, Friday and even a half-hour this morning to finish seven Indian and five American units. I don’t have any more painted natives, but I have tons of American militia and regular units, and a lot of Spanish.  I’ll need to acquire more bases to finish them all, but it’s on the docket to finish all of them this summer.

That said, it seems completely worth it. They don’t rattle around in their cases.  It took much less time to set up a game.  Movement was easy.  Pick up went really fast.  All the objectives were achieved.  They look pretty good too. The remount was a success.

The Rules Adaptation

I chose to take the Americans and Dave took the indians.

Dave had:

  • Two tribal infantry without modifiers
  • Two tribal infantry with veteran +1 to discipline
  • two tribal infantry with veteran +1 to discipline, and fierce.

I had

  • One veteran regular infantry, +1 to discipline
  • Two plain ol’ veteran infantry
  • One unit of irregular infantry, militia
  • One unit of veteran militia, +1 to discipline, armed with rifles.  This was a rule change allowing greater range (18″ vs 12″ for smoothbore muskets,) but allowing only half the figures to fire each turn due to slower loading and shooting.

The two sides were divided by a fordable stream, and Dave set up his units in covering terrain.  Another change to the rules is the Indians have only an 8″ shooting range and always fire at long range (this requires all hits to be halved.) Deciding he was too far away and unlikely to coax me into crossing the stream, Dave launched all six of his units at me.

Because shooting is a free move for regular and irregular infantry, it didn’t make much sense to do a lot of moving around.  The first turn of fire was made at long and short range, depending on the unit. My troops did little damage, and successful pin rolls were made all around.

In the second turn, as some units moved close enough to consider attacking at the double-quick, the Indian units mostly failed their activations. But one of the fierce units did not, and hit a regular infantry units.  Dave rolled 24 dice and hit on eight of them.  I rolled ten dice and hit on two.  Bad news. The unit failed its pin roll. I was not shocked.

But my second turn of fire went much better. All my remaining units hit at a greater than 50% rate, and pinned their targets, rendering them unable to move in turn three.

But our fierce friend struck another unit, inflicting another eight casualties against only three losses. Two of the five units in my command were now shattered, and by a single unit. My center was simply remnants, my left was holding and gradually reducing their attackers, and my veteran rifle unit was isolated, pouring fire at two potential attackers, but firing at half strength was not going to cut it forever.

In turn four, the fierce unit dispatched one of its badly wounded prey, while the two left flank units ended the resistance by their opponents. Three Indian units were eliminated.  But on the right flank, one of the units was across the stream, and the other was finally moving into the stream.  Trouble was coming.

In turn five, the fierce unit was fired on as it advanced toward the last remaining regular unit, and reduced to five figures. One of the Indian units in the right flank attack struck the collection of figures assigned to finding the hidden cannon, driving them back, but suffering loss. More losses came with fire from the rifle unit, and they were pinned. But the fresh unit on the far right was lining up the rifles for destruction.

Turn six was the final turn. The fierce unit attacked the American regulars and were finally worn down to nubs.  But the unit on the right hit the rifles and killed half of them at minimal loss. They were driven back and pinned, but failed their pin recovery.  The two American left flank units advanced toward the carnage in the center as the game end. By the end of the game, far more stands were removed than were still in the game.

Our verdict was the game played as intended.  The rules were simple.  Lots of bases were removed.  No real snags in the flow of play.  We didn’t use the officer characteristics rules. One other rule change, was the addition of a leader to each command.  The leader could give a +1 to activation or pin rolls to one unit per turn. This played a minor role int he game.

I’m pronouncing these a success, but I want to play them again soon.

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Cortes is ready

After taking time away to begin work on the Aztecs, I decided to polish off the rest of the Spanish I’ve purchased for Quetzacoatl Rampant. It’s been two weeks since our playtest of the game at Meeples and I spent last weekend working on my mounted Spaniards. This week, aided and abetted by our strange day off on Tuesday.  I finished painting on Wednesday, took care of all the washing and basing on Friday, and tried my hand at workable flags Saturday while listening to the Huskies devastate the hated Ducks in Quackland.

All my Spanish are done. There are nine units, each of six figures. In our rules they are nasty, but their small size makes them quite brittle.

I have one mounted unit. The Spanish had a handful of mounted men-not your basic Gendarme from the Italian battlefield, but the horses were fear inspiring, and the riders were motivated, very tough on the Aztecs whose largest domestic animals were small dogs raised for food.

I also have four units of missile troops, two each of arquebusiers and crossbowmen. Both weapons did terrible damage to the native Mexicans who were unarmored or wore cloth padded armor.  But these weapons also had limitations.  They were very slow firing, especially in comparison to the Aztec dart throwers, slingers and archers who could literally rain missiles down on the small Spanish forces. The gunpowder weapons, though fearsome and deadly, like all black powder weapons, were great on their first fire, but prone to misfires as their users reloaded with loose powder and shot.

Finally, the core of all conquering Spanish armies were the swordsmen. Armed with Toledo steel versus cloth armor, light wooden shields and wooden club-like Aztecs, the swordsmen were the most effective of Cortes’ troops. I have four units of Spanish swordsmen, and I my add two more.

All figures are from Eureka, ordered from Eureka USA in Massachusetts.  They are great figures and I very much enjoyed painting them.  They are nicely shaped, and detailed enough, without being difficult to paint.

I’ll be moving on to my last two units of Aztecs, in the hope that I’ll have both twelve figure units finished by Sunday, a week from today. That will leave only the 36 Tlaxcallan warriors to complete.  My goal is for everything to be completed before Thanksgiving so I can turn my attention to terrain for this project and move on to other things. That is about a 250 figure turnaround since I began working on this project in April.  I’m pretty happy with all of it.

Playtest: Quetzcoatl Rampant

Today was the day, long awaited. David Sullivan, Dave Schueler, Dave Demick and I met at Meeples in West Seattle to try David’s adaptation of the Lion Rampant rules to the Conquest of Mexico. Last night I sat down and made some quick play sheets for the Quetzacoatl Rampant adaptation. . This morning I laminated them.I reorganized Aztecs according to the rules. I have thirteen units instead of eleven.

This morning I piled by prized collection into the car, and   I picked up Dave D. in Tacoma at 9:00, grabbed Brother Schueler in West Seattle, and we actually made it to Meeples before the store opened at 10:00

I knew the table space would be fair small, and I was okay with that for our first run through.  I love playing games-miniatures or boardgames-in the Meeples cafe.  It is terribly comfortable, if small.  The food and beer is tasty and cheap.  And because what we do isn’t typically what is played at the store, there are always folks interested in what we are playing.

I set up the table with the Spanish advancing on an Aztec village. The Spanish had a unit of horse, five of sword and buckler men, two arquebusiers, a dog pack, and a unit of Tlaxcallan allies. The Aztecs had four units of skirmishers, a unit of Eagle knights, three units of veteran warriors and two units of peasant warriors.

I didn’t have any expectations.  The Aztecs were pretty outclassed, but didn’t know by how much.  Let’s just put it this way, the Spanish won in a walkover. There were Spanish figure losses, but the Aztecs, though they pointed out about the same as the Spanish, were not able to do much to them.

We went over some simple changes that would balance out the rules: reducing the Spanish armor value by a point, improving the Aztec’s move, shoot and attack values, reduce the accuracy of Spanish arquebusiers.

Like I said, simple changes, and all we need is the opportunity to try it again. Would like to give the game a whirl on a larger table so we can cram all the Aztecs into the game. Can’t wait to give it a try.

 

Playing alone better than not playing at all

Yesterday I said I’d give a quick shot to Jim Purky’s Fife and Drum rules for the American Revolution.  Just to be clear, I am a Fire and Fury Regimental guy.  But I don’t play them often, and if I take them off to a convention they can be a little overwhelming.  Jim sent these to me when I ordered from his excellent range of figures a few years back, and they’ve mostly sat out in my painting room staring at me. I’m sure I’ve heard them whispering, “Well?”

Since I’m home alone this week, I thought I’d drag them out and give them a try. I set my dining room table up for “Action at Lizzard’s Farm.” It was great.  I dragged out all kinds of stuff and littered my 76″ by 40″ table with it. I even used one of my 4Ground buildings.

The scenario was simple. Lizzard’s Farm was defended by a brigade commanded by Otho Williams including a battalion of North Carolina militia, the 5th Virginia, the 5th Maryland and a section of artillery.  They were reinforced by Lee’s Legion dragoons and foot.

The British had two brigades including loyalist battalions Volunteers of Ireland and the New York Volunteers, a battalion of the 71st regiment (highland), the 21st regiment, and converged battalion of light infantry.  They kept Coffin’s South Carolina Dragoons in reserve and also had a section of artillery.

I’ll review the game with some photos, but right now I’d just like to focus on the rules.  Let me just say I like ’em.  They are easy without being ridiculous, they are logical and they work pretty well.  As with any one page set of rules, however, there are a few items that aren’t clear to me, and because I wasn’t playing with the author I didn’t have one of those a-ha moments.  So there are a couple of things I’d clarify

  • Units have to charge to initiate melee
    • Units who charge would receive an advantage in melee
    • Units who charge can’t shoot
    • Units who “lose” a melee after two rounds become shaken.

It’s possible that’s what Jim meant, but it isn’t clear to me. There is the right amount of death, but not so much as to be silly.

Big Set up

The set up extends across both sides down the table.  I wasn’t trying to be subtle.  In the British center right, they are trying to carry the American position by main force while the British light infantry and the 21st Regt. try to sweep up a thinly held American left flank. The Americans stuck riflemen in the cornfield, hoping to slow the Highlanders’ advance, while screening their right, holding a Continental regiment in reserve.

The British advanced briskly.  The Highlanders quickly emerged from the woods with the Irish and New Yorkers moving quickly with them. The American line units were out range, but the Brits came under fire from the artillery and the riflemen, andsuffered no casualties.

The following turn, however the 71st had to decide whether to engage the riflemen who shot so poorly or advance directly on the 5th Virginia.  A die roll of 5 meant huzzah! Damn the riflemen and charge the Virginians.  The two loyalist units followed suit.  An exchange of musketry found the Brits receiving decided the worst of the firefight.  With the aid of artillery fire, a bit of luck from the militia, and flank fire from the bypassed riflemen, the English line was staggered, but continued their advance.

On the British left, the 21st Regt. marched smartly around the pond as the light infantry prepared to engage Lee’s Legion light corps.  Outnumbered two to one and likely to be outflanked, the infantry began looking for friends.

The Charge

Hightlanders, New York Loyalists and The Volunteers of Ireland advance against Williams’ thin line. The Highlanders also take flank fire from the cornfield.

Turn four was the climactic turn.  The British decided on attack, and that’s where I was unclear about the rules.  The Americans gave them another dose of fire, causing the Highlanders and VOI to become shaken  Though the New Yorkers drove off the artillery crew, they were alone as their flank supports melted away.

Repulse

Repulsed!! The Highlanders and Volunteers of Ireland were simply shattered by fire and unable to effectively charge the defenders. The New York Loyalists had more success, capturing the American artillery.

On the British left, the Lee’s Legion infantry corps withdrew from British reach, and the dragoons fell back to support them.  Williams committed the 5th Maryland to face the 21st Regiment.

At that point it was clear the main British assault failed and I called it good.  It was much fun and I’m glad I gave it a try. It was super to pull the figures out of the box again. Would I play a solo game again–maybe if the cards aligned correctly.

Henry V’s Navy: Review

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This is one of the naval history books I snagged a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and I confess a certain degree of initial disappointment at the book’s slim profile.  There are only 157 pages of text.  But my initial sorrow was quickly set aside once I began reading.

Ian Friel’s study of King Harry’s fleet focuses on the Royal Navy, those ships built, purchased, or captured for the king. Like many historians of this period, Friel struggles a bit to share what can be known and what must be surmised based on the evidence.

But what Friel is able to share is extremely valuable to understanding the importance of controlling the sea lanes to projecting  English power into France during the Hundred Years War

Friel does a great job of helping the reader understand, creating a common language to use when discussing the naval war between England and France in the early 15th century.  He limits his discussion largely to the Royal Navy, the king’s navy, or those ships purchased, built or captured and a part of Henry’s fleet as opposed to the many vessels and crews, privately owned, “arrested” and put into service as fighting vessels or transports for the king’s army.  He also carefully explains the classes of ships: great ships or carracks, ships such as cogs, and then oared vessels, barges and ballingers that all had important roles in King Henry’s navy. Friel goes on to explain further amount typical crews and likely armament for many ships.

Only after the reader has reached an understanding of Henry’s Navy, does Friel attempt to report the important naval combats accompanying the invasion of 1415 that led to the siege of Harfleur, and subsequently the battle at Agincourt.  He also recounts the Normandy campaign of 1417, the Battle of La Chef De Caux, off the Seine estuary.  Friel emphasizes the importance of the navy in its seakeeping role-ensuring the sea lanes were free of French ships, and just as importantly those belonging to their allies, the Castilians and Genoese. Finally, he includes the role of the navy in the siege of Rouen.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  The navy, a costly arm of royal power went in to decline as ships could not be maintained, rotted and simply sank in port. In most respects the story of Henry V’s navy is a mirror of the Hundred Years War, enjoying great success, but always costing more than England can afford, and silenced when resources became scarce.

My chief revelation from Henry V’s Navy is the important role oared vessels played in the royal fleet. Though these vessels were small with relatively small numbers of armed men, they played an important role in scouting and seakeeping. I had always believed oared vessels to chiefly a feature of Castilian and Genoese fleets, but clearly I was mistaken.  Gonna need to add some oared vessels to my cog fleets.

This is a very enjoyable, highly accessible book, and if you have an interest in the Hundred Years War and hope to understand the important naval aspect of Henry V’s campaigns, it is well worth your time and money.

What’s on my painting table. 

Well, this is pitiful.  I haven’t finished anything recently.  I’ve been stuck at school a lot.  But I did start working on the Miss Rock KISW hydroplane from 1983.Nearly done, need a bit more yellow trim on the numerals, some touch-up and varnishing. A simple color scheme, but I really like it.

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I’ve made slight progress on my Riders of Rohan, but it is something.  The riders are now mounted on their horses, and I’ve made some progress on the two bowmen.

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Music to paint by

I’ve written about my love of Blue Oyster Cult.  I went to see them for the second time at the Emerald Queen Casino on Saturday night with some friends from work.  I wrote a review of the show here.  BOC comes to EQC fairly regularly, and I can’t recommend their show highly enough.  Though Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser are the sole remaining original members, the band is incredibly talented, and play with passion and professionalism.  Bloom is a great frontman, and Buck is simply the greatest guitarist I’ve ever seen.  The tickets are cheap for a show these days (we paid $25 for view seats), and even though a concert at the Emerald Queen is liking watching a show in a large high school gym, it was still wonderful.

 

Bostons and the Irish cops

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I’m having a great painting month.  And with a four day weekend approaching (for this teacher, at any rate,) and nothing much planned, I’m looking forward to a great painting weekend.

First on my completion pile is the C in C Boston bombers.  These are American built bombers built by Douglas.  Primarily light bombers or attack planes and given the designation A-20A, many were flown by the Brits as Boston II’s.  I chose to paint them in a North Africa/Mediterranean scheme.  They are my entire British RAF representatives for this theater.  Maybe I need more. It will encourage me to paint my GHQ Hurricane II’s I’ve had sitting around for decades.

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The miniatures are by C in C. The minis have lines that are really clean and I like that.  However, they are bit short of detail.  Overall nice, but lacking a little bit, or the scribing so light for the control surfaces I simply painted out the detail The camouflage is Vallejo Desert Yellow as a base, with Vallejo Military green.  I dry brushed over the whole business with white to lighten up the colors a bit and then black washed the lot. The undersurface is painted with Vallejo Light Grey.  The paint scheme is out of the book Flying Colours.

I’ll probably add two more at a future time so I have four planes to work with.  That’s the minimum.

I’ve also completed nine of the Musketeer/Footsore Royal Irish Constabulary figures. These are figures I really enjoyed painting, probably because they are really easy.  With their dark green 20th century uniforms, there isn’t a whole lot to them.  I used Vallejo Military Green as the base color and did my best to highlight them, but they are still pretty dark. I painted their cartridge belts black, which may be a no-no, but I have no photos to refer to for this equipment, and all other belting was black and the Auxies most definitely wore black cartridge belts.

What’s on my painting table?

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From the RIC to WWII at sea.  I’ve assembled and primed four of the Skytrex-now ROS/Heroics-Siebel ferries.  I had a couple I purchased during our St. Nazaire prep last year. I added a two more in December. They’ll go with my 1/600 coastal collection.  They served in the Mediterranean, the Baltic and the Channel coasts.  A unique catamaran vessel they were designed for the invasion of Britain in 1940.  They were designed as amphibious landing craft, and could carry about 100 tons of cargo, including trucks and tanks.  Experimentation with propulsion systems included truck engines and aircraft engines. All were armed at least with light AA weapons, and some were armed with multiple 88mm guns.

After that, it’s on to a couple of much larger vessels, the German Wolf class torpedo boat we’ll use in the Channel Dash scenario. The second vessel is a British V & W class destroyer.  I’ve decided to do the Wolf in light gray with a white bow wave camo.  The British destroyer I’m going to color up a bit in a Western Approaches color scheme which includes a white hull and markings in pastel green and light blue gray.  No point in tedium.

After the ships it will be on to do the first unit of Rohirrim for Dragon Rampant.  These will all be Mithril miniatures I bought during the early 1990’s, so needless to say they’ve been waiting around for a paint job for a while. Then it will be hydroplanes and assembling some Crosley tenders for my Irish project. I have one model by Sloppy Jalopy and two more by Company B miniatures.  I’ll cross my fingers and trust to luck.

Less is more

I did make one purchase.  I picked up a pair of Passaic class monitors from Thoroughbred.  Just wanted to fill out what I have. This will give me three monitors from a class of ten. I won’t need any more.  I suspect another order in the not too distant future-probably a Canonicus class monitor and the Civilian Purchased Screw steamer variant of the always useful Yankee Gunboat model.  Any variety of steamer I can put my hands on is a bonus.

That makes me a +11-2 for this time, and a + 19 for the year.

And a quick plug

I’ve been buying 1/600 scale ACW ships from Throughbred Figures since they issued the Albemarle almost 25 years ago.  I’ve always loved owner/designer Toby Barrett’s work. It is of high quality, sturdy and for an all metal miniature, very fairly priced.  Now Toby has added superb customer service.  I ordered my monitors on Monday and they were in my mailbox today (Friday.) For the record, Virginia Beach, the home of Thoroughbred Figures, is about as far as one can be from beautiful Puyallup Washington, and remain in the continental United States.  Check it out here.

Pages afloat

Normally I would be sharing some awesome music with you.  Unfortunately my listening habits have been detoured by my decision to binge watch The X-Files.  Sick? A waste of time? Absolutely, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. But for the next post, I promise I’ll share a review of Zephyr, by the band of the same name.  Haven’t heard of them?  Well, you will soon.

However, I have bought a few books recently, all of them related to naval warfare in a couple of different periods. Note:  I have read none of them yet, but two are relatively new, and worth knowing about.

51j13gnZ0mL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Henry V’s Navy: The Sea Road to Agincourt and Conquest 1413-1422 .  by Ian Friel To suggest that books about the Hundred Years War at sea are as rare as hen’s teeth may be giving too much credit to the hens. The only other book-length study I’m aware of is 2011’s Edward III and The War at Sea, 13227-1377 and is pretty much worth a king’s ransom (and somehow I missed it when it came out, sniff.)  I determined not to be shut out when this book became available on February 1, and promptly ordered a copy.  The small volume was not over-priced, and I’m hoping to read it soon. Henry V was a noted shipbuilder and vastly increased the size of the fleet that virtuallydisappeared during the reign of Richard II.

51CezmtWcJL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Civil War at Sea by Craig Symonds.  Symonds’ name may ring a bell.  He’s a prolific writer, best known for his military atlases, but he’s written about many military topics, including the naval aspects of the Civil War.  He tackles this massive topic thematically rather than chronologically, focusing on the changing nature of ships and armament, the blockade, commerce raiding, war on the rivers, the attack on ports (using Charleston as an example) and the success of the Union naval strategy. The book has only 170 pages of text, so it tends not to get hung up on detail, so if that is your desire this may not be the book for you.  But as a thematic interpretation of the Civil War on the water, it could do the trick.

61yXPXIuvrL._SY454_BO1,204,203,200_The Confederate Steam Navy by Donald Canney.  I have only ordered this book and haven’t received it yet.  But I have been angling for a copy since it was released on December 9th.  Canney’s book on the Confederate Navy is supposed to mirror his brilliant two volume study of the The Old Steam Navy that went out of print in the ’90’s.  These are books I constantly consult and I believe the new book will be just as useful.  So much of what is written about the Confederate Navy is conjectural while Canney’s work always seems to be anything but.  It covers all types of vessels from the ironclad rams to blockade runners, and as with his previous work, will be crammed with illustrations and photos, some not previously published.  I’m excited.  Hoping it arrives from Amazon today.

 

Orcs!!!

I’ve finished painting my band of orcs.  There is a great variety to them because they are by three different manufacturers.  The tallish looking ones are by Mithril Miniatures.  The short squatty guys are Ral Partha.  The biggest and two smallest are by Alternative Armies. I like ’em.  It’s a nice variety-as manufactured creatures should be.

The twelve figure unit didn’t take long, just a few days.  To insure a mix I went with three different Vallejo colors as the basis for their flesh–khaki, khaki-grey and stone gray.  I painted their accoutrements a variety of grays and browns and washed the lot brown.  Made sure to paint on something resembling a face and even managed some eyes.  Pretty basic, but I wanted to insure some variety.

This is the first unit for my orc Dragon Rampant armies.  Ideally I’d like to have a total of eight, or enough for two retinues (or whatever the clot of units is called for the fantasy game.)  They were fun, and they’ve been awaiting paint for about 25 years.

And on my painting table . . .

I’ve mapped out a plan for February, which gets an extra day because of leap year. Here’s what I’ll be doing this month:

  1. The two Boston bombers are next on my list, and I’m already making good progress on them.  Wish I had a couple more.
  2. Nine Musketeer/Footsore Royal Irish Constabulary figures for the Irish Civil War.  They were the British cops who were well-armed, but not as nasty as the Black and Tans and Auxies, who were often veterans brutalized by their experiences in France.
  3. Six 1/600 scale ships.  This includes a German Wolf class torpedo boat and a British V and W class destroyer, as well as four German Siebel ferries–motorized catamarans used to transport stuff around the Adriatic.
  4. Six Mithril Rohan horse.  They’ve been knocking around my unpainted pile for decades and its time to get them done.
  5. if I can get all these finished with time remaining for the end of the month, I’ll turn my attention to the four hydroplanes that need painting.  That would be as much as 39 figures painted by the end of the month, including the orcs.

Less is more

No new figure purchases.  I hope that’s something I’ll repeat with regularity throughout the year.

Painting the dozen greenskins gives me a total of +10 for 2016.  Love to see the pluses.

Music to Paint By

Deep Purple is best remembered as a guitar heavy rock band from the 1970’s.  Though not as well known as Led Zeppelin, like that band they had a death dealing guitarist in Ritchie Blackmore, and later they had an awesome vocalist in Ian Gillian.

But in 1968 they released their second album, The Book of Taliesyn.  It’ an odd album that is desperately trying to find its place among the many bands exporting music from England.  With the fiery, “Listen,Learn, Read On,” I was reminded of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and other bands producing uniquely British psychedelia.  But other songs are more puzzling.  The purple bunch cover Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman,” The Beatles “We Can Work it Out” and Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.” The remaining songs are an odd mix of guitar rock and  folk influenced songs.  This is a band still searching for an identity they will find later.

Book of Taliesyn

Very uneven stuff.  But it has such a cool cover!!!!