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!!!!

Musketeer/Footsore Irish Republican Army

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14 IRA gunmen by Musket Miniatures, now Footsore Miniatures.

Being of Irish heritage-my much missed grandfather was from Cork-the Irish Rebellion and Civil War 1916-22 is of great interest to me.  A few years ago I bought figures from Musketeer Miniatures for this period, a British company, who had an American distributor in the U.S. Unfortunately Musketeer changed hands last year and is now part of Footsore miniatures.

They weren’t my first figures for the Irish conflict.  The Australian company, Cannon Fodder also got a start on the period with a group of very nice IRA gunman, a very nice Auxiliary figure and a British soldier.  Unfortunately they didn’t get very far with the range before Cannon Fodder became Blaze Away miniatures.  Sadly, Blaze Away is now gone and so are 20th century figures from the Cannon Fodder line.  Pity.

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A little tighter view of the Lewis gun, left, with his loader.  There is a nice variety of figures in the range and the figures themselves are pretty good. A little bit of breakage, however, and some mold mark issues as well.

I’ve decided to focus on my collection of figures for this period as one of my painting projects for 2016 and yesterday I finished my collection of IRA gunmen–14 in all.  When I bought my Musketeer figures I was very excited about them.  I’m a bit less so now.  Let’s be clear, they are still nicely proportioned, historically correct, and dressed in a variety of period attire, but they have some production issues that make them a bit less than I’d like.  First, they have very breakable gun barrels. At about two bucks a figure, the last thing I want is to get figures that aren’t usable because their gun barrels are broken. Some also had unfortunate mold marks.  Well-detailed pewter figures are hard to clean, and I found these with just a little too much flash in hard-to-get-to places for my liking.  If I was rating them, they’d get maybe a 7 of 10.  Good, but not brilliant. Cleaner than your average Old Glory figure, but not as good as the average Perry figure.

Nothing fancy to paint these guys.  They are a combination of Vallejo and Ceramcoat colors. I did make sure to do some highlighting before washing them with Vallejo black and brown wash.

What’s on my painting table

I’ll be taking on my first Dragon Rampant unit.  I have twelve orcs from a variety of manufactures, including Mithril, Ral Partha, and Alternative Armies.  They work together size wise, plus, as we learned in Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring, orcs are manufactured in a variety of colors and sizes, so–no problem.

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Watch out!! My first Dragon Rampant unit is on the painting table.  It’s a mixture of Ral Partha, Mithril and Alternative Armies figures.  It’s actually a pretty nice mix.

I’ve also dredged up a pair of C in C Boston II’s from my aging airplane stash.  I’m still assembling them, which is not always an easy feat.  They’ll be completed in a camo for the British in the Mediterranean.

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The very nice C-in-C Boston II’s.  I like forward to painting these in British colors for the Mediterranean.

Looking way down the road my next Irish Civil War unit will be the green-clad Royal Irish Constabulary figures by Musketeer–there are seven of them.

Less is More

I’ve given up the idea of tracking each of my purchases and painting on a running basis, but I have come to embrace the idea that finishing figures is a good thing, and completing more than I purchase is also good.  So I’ll try to keep a running total right here in Less is More. Just in general, I’m not buying new stuff–well sort of.  I did buy some planes for the Channel Dash as well as additional jets for a future Cuban Missile Crisis project. I also have some stuff from ROS coming, some day in my lifetime, that I’ll figure into this initial entry.  The goal is to finish the year with more painted figures than purchases, way more.

Purchases

  • From 1-94 Enterprises  28 airplanes
  • From ROS  6 airplanes 2 Siebel ferries

Painted

  • 20 airplanes
  • 14 Irish Republican army figures

Net

34 figures painted (January) – 36 purchased (December) = net of -2 figures.  Still a week to go in the month and no additional purchases planned.  I fully expect this will be the only time I register a negative number.

Music to Paint By

When I graduated from college in 1978, one really popular album was the debut by Van Halen.  It was like nothing I’d ever heard before.  One of the songs Eddie and the boys covered was a Kinks song “All Day and All of the Night.”  They destroyed it with Van Halen’s smoking guitar and David Lee Roth’s incendiary vocals. And one of the things it did was to inspire the Kinks and their lead guitarist Dave Davies, Ray’s brother, on to some flaming guitar heights of his own. Listen to their 1980 live album, One for the Road, and you’ll know what I mean.

Dave Davies

Most importantly, it encouraged Dave, the less well-known Davies brother, but a fine guitarist, to go out on his own.  His first solo effort is AFL1-3603. This is a good record.  All the songs are written by Davies.  He also plays almost all of the instruments. Most of the tunes feature some heavy-handed guitar work. From the opening song, “Where Do You Come From,” there is no mistake you’re listening to a rock and roll record.  But there are other songs, that are also quite good, notably “Visionary Journey” and “Imaginations Real.”

Don’t get me wrong, though this is guitar focused, it is not a record of aimless solo guitar-noodling.  Rather, it’s a product of its time, the guitar is loud, it’s very raw, but supports the song structure without wandering about by way of the third moon of Saturn only to return to what’s important three minutes later. C’mon, it was released in 1980, we’re done with that shit.

I guess my overall verdict is AFL1-3603 is solid, with consistently good songs and good performances.  It won’t remind you of Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, or really not much of the Kinks catalog at all.  But it’s a good record, with a very cool cover, and a worthwhile addition to your colleciton