Dragon Rampant down payment


Mithril Rohirrim, painted and finally seeing the light of day after about two decades of darkness. Nice to get them done.

March is always a slow month for me.  Actually the middle of February to the middle of April is difficult because so much is going on at school  The newspaper usually has a deadline week.  There is loads of preparation for the national convention in April.  With the addition of the yearbook there are more deadlines.  Students need letters of recommendation.  It’s just busy.

And at home it’s not much better.  Sunday is the first day of spring.  I haven’t mowed my back yard yet and there is tons of stuff to do.  Gah!

So, I know I’m behind in my posts and I haven’t painted as much as I’d like to.

However, I have finished my first Rohan unit.  As promised, I finished my old unit of riders, and they are by Mithril figures.  I pried these out of their boxes about 20 years ago, and chopped away their leg supports and they are now quite fragile.  I really enjoyed painting the horses, but the miniatures, though they too are pretty nice are a bit fiddly and I painted the riders after mounting them on their horses.  Some of the detail was super hard to get at, so I may need to reassess this.

Even so, that’s the first of about eight or nine units I’ll paint of the Rohirrim. I have them all, mostly plastic, I just need to buckle down and paint ’em up.

On the painting table

I have a couple of things I’m working on.  The first is ten civilians for the Irish Civil War by Musketeer/Footsore Miniatures.  I bought two sets and they are pretty nice.  They really come from their Very British Civil War range, and as such look a bit more from the 30’s than 20’s, but I don’t think anyone will notice.  They are nearly done, which will leave about 30 figures more to paint for the project. I will have some vehicles to paint–a beautiful Lancia armored truck no longer available from Musketeer, and a pair of Crosley transports by Company B.  We’ll see how good I am at this vehicle business.


A nice variety of civilians by Musketeer/Footsore miniatures. They were designed for the Very British Civil War range, so they look a little more 30’s than 20’s.

I also have a pair of Thoroughbred Passaic class monitors primed and ready to go.  I’ll be offering them as potential Union naval forces for the Pensacola game.  I have a third that is painted that needs to be remounted from its original balsa base, and I’ll probably do that over Spring Break, which starts next week. I’ve already decided to paint the two new ships as the Lehigh and the Nahant with its black and green coloring respectively.


Three Passaic class monitors by Thoroughbred Figures.  I’m going to repaint my older ship so they’ll all fit together.

Less is More. 

March has not been a smart month for NOT buying miniatures.  I haven’t gone absolutely nuts, but I’m really interested in building Conquistadors and Aztecs for Lion Rampant.  David Sullivan and I have both dabbled in rules and have similar ideas.  David has also been buying figures. In any case, I sent off an order for a dozen figures from Eureka and when I was at Panzer Depot, I bought another dozen.  I’ll be painting some Spanish arquebusiers.  In any case, let’s just say my net positive has taken a hit.  I started with 25 figures + the 6 Rohirrim= 30-24 =6.  That’s not so good, though I’m nearly done with the ten ICW civilians, and should be done with the monitors before the break is over.

Music to Paint By


I’m not a heavy metal music fan.  It just doesn’t appeal to me as a genre or subgenre. But I love “Enter Sandman” and “The Unforgiven” by Metallica.  There’s just not getting around the lure of great songs. Though I could see adding the band’s 1991 eponymously titled record to my collection, the problem was it falls into the vinyl “sweet spot” as the industry was ending production of records and stepping up the production of compact discs.  With only one LP pressing, the starting value of Metallica is about $175.00.  So when I was trolling the new records at my local shop and there was a bright, shiny new copy, I snapped it up.  I was not disappointed.  If you like these songs on the radio or MP3, you’ll really like them on vinyl.  I paid about $27.00 to support my local record store.  You’ll pay about $25 on Amazon. Worth every penny.


Defending Pensacola

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Front view of the Bay Area Fort Jackson star fort. The miniature is pretty good sized, with the interior sans bastions about six inches across.

I’ve blathered on about my plans for Enfilade and my Ironclads game.  Well, I’m prepared to reveal just a little bit more.  I’m thinking a Sunday game, if that works for my partner David. Sunday is a good time, though it often excludes Canadian attendees.  If David is selling stuff at the B and B, he has incentive to be there on Sunday.

Our game is a hypothetical action in late 1864.  Admiral Farragut’s attack on Confederate defenses in August 1864 are disrupted by a Katrina-like event that severely damages many vessels in the Gulf Squadron as they lay at anchor at the mouth of the Mississippi. With Farragut unable to act, Confederate admiral Franklin Buchanan takes the matter into his own hands and launches an assault on the outer defenses of Pensacola with vessels from the Mobile defense forces, and meets some of those nasty ships abuilding in British yards, led by Confederate Commodore Raphael Semmes.

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Another look at the miniature. It was a true pleasure to assemble and paint, but unfortunately it’s no longer available.

Pensacola was occupied by Confederate forces April 1861-May 1862.  They took control of Forts McRee and Barrancas that provided two angles of the “triangle of fire” controlling the ship channel into the city. They also laid siege to and tried unsuccessfully to capture Fort Pickens, the great star fort on Santa Rosa Island. McRee was shelled mercilessly by Pickens and the Federal sloops Niagara and Richmond in September 1861. When the Confederates evacuated Pensacola in spring of 1862, they destroyed what was left of McRee’s defenses, and it’s unclear what happened at Barrancas. Pensacola’s fortifications went largely unimproved as it became a backwater, an ignored enclave in Confederate Florida, the action moving on to Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia

One of the stars of the scenario will be Fort Pickens, the 1830’s era star fort that anchored the defense of the ship entrance to Pensacola Bay.  In my previous entry I shared a photo of the Bay Area Yards model of Fort Jackson, which has to be a reasonable substitute for Pickens.  First let me just say it’s a beautiful miniature.  Steven Taylor and Dave Brandon have my salute, because there’s nothing about it I found to be a problem.  Well-cast in resin, I think I found one small inconsequential bubble. Unfortunately, a limited number of these babies, together with Fort St. Philip, were cast and are no longer available.

I’ve never been to Fort Jackson or Fort Pickens, but I have been to Fort Pulaski in Savannah.  Though Pulaski is pentagonal like Fort Sumter, rather than a classic star, I was struck by the beautiful brick work, like Jackson.  I painted the brick areas, the exterior and interior walls, the ground colonnades Vallejo cavalry brown.  I dry brushed it with Ceramcoat Trail Tan, and then washed it with Vallejo brown wash.  Same with the interior citadel. I decided on Vallejo neutral gray for the horizontal surfaces and then dry-brushed with Ceramcoat light gray.  The citadel roof was painted Ceramcoat charcoal and again dry brushed with light gray.

The model comes with a passel of guns for the fort, and if I made a mistake in my painting choices, it was with the guns. I painted them the same neutral gray and should have painted them any other color.  I also glued them to the fort before painting–another “doh!” moment. I found the model required lots of handling, so I made sure to dull-coat it multiple times along the way.  Really a pleasure to build and paint with some very moderate challenges. I really like it. IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS WHO HAS THE FORT ST. PHILIP MODEL AND DOESN’T THINK THEY’LL EVER BUILD IT, PLEASE CONTACT ME.  I’D LOVE TO TAKE IT OFF YOUR HANDS.

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Rear view of the Bay mortar battery and brick water battery.

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Another sizable model, the Bay Battery Buchanan miniature is quite nice. My friend, Al Rivers painted it for me. Thanks Al.

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This is my tub o’ land based leavin’s. It includes fortfications, buildings and one must have a Martello Tower-always. No, really.

I completed a few more Bay pieces.  They may or may not make it into our game.  A few years ago, my friend Al gave me a miniature of Battery Buchanan that was part of the Fort Fisher defenses of the Cape Fear River. Al did a super nice job with it, and all it needed was armament.  Thankfully I had plenty of surplus guns.  In addition I had the Bay brick water battery and a seacoast mortar battery and I wrapped those up too.  There going to have to be more landbased pieces acquired, probably both from Thoroughbred and from Bay Area Yards.

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Weisfield’s Jewelers. There are countless things I would do differently with this miniature. Too many to list here.

Last on my list of finished pieces was another picklefork hyroplane, the Weisfield’s Jewelers from 1974-5.  It’s unique tail simply had me.  Not an easy miniature to paint with all the lining required. Still, it’s always fun to paint these miniatures, though I confess I don’t quite have the same attachment to the later boats I do to the 50’s and 60’s boats.

What’s on my painting table?

Well, with the fortifications done I can spend all my time working on the dismounted men-at-arms I started working on a while ago. Still a ways to go, but I’m hoping to have them finished by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.  Why?  Well, because I just received to Thoroughbred ships in the mail.  I bought the T-Bred Gaines.  The Gaines was a small, but well-armed gunboat that served on Mobile Bay together with her sister ship Morgan, and the Selma.  They became consorts to the ironclad Tennessee. They look nice, and they should be fun to build and paint.

Music to paint by. 

David GilmourYesterday I picked up a vinyl copy of the first solo album by David Gilmour.  Gilmour is the lead guitarist and sometime vocalist for Pink Floyd.  His first solo record was released in 1978.  I bought it after hearing “There’s No Way Out of Here” on the radio when the album was released.  I had a 1974 Ford Pinto and I installed an eight track player in it.  Gilmour’s album was one of my first eight track purchases. The album is more accessible than Pink Floyd’s Animals, which was released at the same time.  The songs are reflective, wistful and generally, a very pleasant listen.  This record also has a Hipgnosis cover, which made it a must-have for my collection.




I was gone, but now I’m back.

So, it’s been about a month since my last post.  The last time I wrote I was discussing Enfilade.  In that intervening time, I was wrapping up school, finishing the last issue of JagWire and getting ready for my prostate surgery.

Well, all that’s come and gone.  Surgery was last week and pathology report shows I am cancer-free, so that’s good news.  I’m in a recovery mode right now, which means I need lots of rest.  I am physically incapable of playing a game at the moment, though things are in the works to start playing the weekend of  July 19th.

Even so, I’ve been trying to paint a little bit.  Mostly I’m painting for fun.  I’ve got some hydroplanes I’m working  on.  I finished the 1959/60 version of Miss Burien, a local favorite.  It’s denoted by the big swoosh like decor on the tail and the deep red cowing and engine decking.  I also decided to paint myself the Hawaii Kai.  The Kai was one of the very few pink hydroplanes during racing’s Golden Age. I painted one for Dave Demick years ago, but I decided I needed one of my own.  The other boat I have on the painting blocks is the Miss Bardahl from 1968, “The Checkerboard Comet.”  It is in fact painted a creamy yellow with black checks everywhere.  It seems like a really big headache, but I thought I would at least try.  It’s one of Shawn McEvoy’s new hulls.  I think I’m actually going to pencil grid out the design as best I can.  I’ve finished one other boat, a second fantasy hydro, the JagWire, in honor of the school paper and all my students who have worked so hard on it.  It’s in ERHS school colors, with our flag on the hull.  It’s green and black with a jaguar paw on the tail.  I like it.  You may think it’s a bit much.

Hawaii Kai was quite a fast boat in the late 1950's and early 60's.  I painted this for my friend David, but noticed I had no pink boats in my inventory

Hawaii Kai was quite a fast boat in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. I painted this for my friend David, but noticed I had no pink boats in my inventory

I painted JagWire for my school and in honor of our paper.  I tried to emulate our flag with it's brackets and Helvetica font.

I painted JagWire for my school and in honor of our paper. I tried to emulate our flag with it’s brackets and Helvetica font.

Miss Burien was a local favorite, though I don't remember it having a lot of success.  This is the 1959/60 version of the boat.

Miss Burien was a local favorite, though I don’t remember it having a lot of success. This is the 1959/60 version of the boat.


I’m also working on some ACW ships I’ve had for a few years, but really need some paint. I finished painting and rigging an armed sailing sloop.  It may be a Bay model, but it looks kind of Thoroughbredish.  I also have a sailing merchantman by Bay as well as the Confederate river ram, Webb.  From Thoroughbred I’ll be working on the river monitor Neosho, as well as Toby’s truly awesome Benton. They’ll be fun and relatively easy to paint thought I’m hoping to put some rigging touches on all of them.


Pretty sure this little sloop is a Bay Area Yards miniature.  I have another three or four ships I plan to paint and rig this month.

Pretty sure this little sloop is a Bay Area Yards miniature. I have another three or four ships I plan to paint and rig this month.