Sensibility was never one of my long suits

I sat down with Mrs. Smyth, my favorite person in the world, and revealed my momentous decision.  I was going to order all the figures I needed for my Aztec project and put them on my credit card.

I’d just paid off my card from all our summer expenses on the Alaska cruise, so this was kind of a big deal.  I promised to pay it off from my fairly generous allowance, but it meant I had to be good. Record purchases at a minimum, and a planned flight to Mexico was out (yes I’m kidding.)

I told Lorri it would be about $150 with orders to Eureka Miniatures USA and Outpost Wargame Services in the U.K. A hundred fifty bucks.

Dreamer

Two Hundred fifty dollars later, the orders are in.

The Eureka order arrived in no time.  I sent it in on Veterans Day, a holiday, and it got here Monday the 14th.  That’s good service. No it’s better than that. I contacted Rob at Eureka USA about my previous order about being shorted some figures in packs, and he sent along up the “make-up” guys together with the Huaxtecs, slingers, Spanish swordsmen, porters and command figures I ordered. Life is good.

I received an e-mail from Outpost on Sunday.  I’ve purchased Tlaxcalans to fill out the last of my Spanish allies. I needed 48 figures, I ended up with 80.  Hardly anything.  But with shipping and insurance it did add up to 99.75 quid. Supposed to mail tomorrow (Tuesday) so I’m looking forward to it. At least a real person named Jeff contacted me as opposed to the goofball non-human at The Assault Group.

In any case, the two orders will keep me painting for a while.

Rule Changes

I was pleased with the changes in the rules at The Museum of Flight game.  The Aztecs were able to hold their own a bit better.  However, they did become a bit too aggressive around the unit of horse and the war dogs.  I think I will require them to be “fearsome: when charging them.  That will likely make life harder for the Aztecs.  May also allow both units to countercharge, so they will fight with their attack factor too.

Music to Paint To

selling-england-by-the-pound

With mounting concern about space for more record looming, I’d kind of taken a bit of a break from record purchases. Sort of. Temporarily. Sigh. Back off the wagon now.

I picked up a copy of Selling England by the Pound by Genesis. This is the 1973 version of the band that would go on to mega-stardom in the late 70’s and 80’s built around singer/drummer Phil Collins. The Selling England version fronts vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Peter Gabriel, though Collins is there and does take a turn at the mictophone. The lead guitarist is Steve Hackett, though Mike Rutherford (Mike and the Mechanics) also play s 12-string and cello. The terrifically talented Tony Banks is on keyboards It is an interesting mix of the kind of English folk music that band its start, with some solid guitar work, and the synth sounds that would become a hallmark of the band.

This is a concept album.  It’s a collection of stories and fables that blend together to become part of a theme. I confess I’ve listened to it only once, which is probably far less than than it deserves.  The first observation, is that, musically, this is a fantastic record. Unfortunately it didn’t fully grab me. In 1973 it was not uncommon to have  to have seven minute plus songs. On Selling England by the Pound there are eight tracks. Of those, four are over eight minutes, and two are over 11 minutes.  Is that the end of the world? No but it is clearly from a rock era, thankfully, gone by, and to truly appreciate them it requires multiple listenings. On the other hand, though the songs are long, they lack the arrogance and bombast of Emerson, Lake and Palmer or Yes at their worst. There is real story-telling happening here, rather than just showing off.

Selling England By the Pound is unquestionably a solid record, but I hesitate to give it my highest marks.  It seems very much a product of its time, But if long, brilliantl-played story songs are your cup of tea, I can’t recommend it highly enough. .

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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.