Miss Rock and looking ahead

It’s March 5th and we’re about 12 weeks out from Enfilade. It’s a tremendously busy time for me at school.  We just finished a newspaper deadline, the yearbook is on perpetual deadline, and all that means extra nights at Emerald Ridge. I don’t object.  I really don’t.  I love my job and I love my students.  Add to that a state convention to get ready for and a national convention in six weeks in Los Angeles, and there is just tons of stuff to do.

Unfortunately, that means little time for painting or playing games.  It is what it is and there is just no point in complaining–but to say I haven’t considered what retirement might mean would be a lie.

But I have been able to pick up my brushes a bit and make some progress.  I finished the Miss Rock hydroplane sponsored by KISW radio in 1983.  I loved the color scheme and gave it a try.  Nothing terribly tricky, just black and white with Vallejo Vermillion and Deep Yellow accents. It puts my picklefork flotilla at four with two left to paint for the convention.  They will be the identical hulls: 1973 Pay ‘N Pak and the 1976 Atlas Van Lines.  The hulls are a one and only, as Atlas picked up the Pak “Winged Wonder” as the latter began experimenting with new designs.

Picklefork 1

Miss Rock joins the other three boats.  They will race as a separate event at Enfilade in May.

I really am hoping to pick up some additional boats from Shawn.  I’d like another ten or so–a lot of the cab forward boats so I can do the legendary “Blue Blaster” of 1981 as well as other boats of similar design.  Would like a few more of the classic shovel nose hulls too.

Looking ahead

Will probably be trying the MSD 1/300 Swordfish for the Channel Dash scenario.  Dave, ordered a pair and they definitely look more manageable than the Ros/Heroics planes.  I hate to be a quitter on miniatures, but the Heroics planes are not good.  Building any biplane is hard in 1/300–the planes are small.  But these are super difficult.  I’m also going to order a couple of the MSD PB4Y-2 Privateers.  These are navy patrol bombers based on late war the B-24. They are just nasty both as patrol bombers and defensively, absolutely bristling with guns. It also gives me a chance to try out MSD, who started out with the Luft46 range of planes.

En Garde

I picked up the Osprey En Garde! rules.  I had been waiting for them to come out and overlooked the fact they were actually released in November.  Based on the sucessful Ronin rules, these Renaissance era rules combine skirmish combat with the tactical flavor of the period.  Aztecs, Scottish Border reivers, Three Musketeers are the focus of the rules.  THREE MUSKETEERS!!!  Count me in.  My completed 40mm figures are sitting in the garage waiting to play a game.  Unfortunately, I may have to add a few figures to them to really do much.  Not many figures per side, but I’m thinking a few pikemen and command figures may be called for to make a Huguenot command.

Next week I get together with a couple of Dave’s to try out our Ironclads scenario at the Panzer Depot in Redmond.  I doubt we’ll be able to play through the entire scenario, looking instead to see how the fort fire works and whether the Confederate ships can do enough damage to Fort Pickens.  I’ll also be trying to make sure the game doesn’t bog down too terribly.

Less is More.

Since my last post I completed exactly one miniature, the Miss Rock.  I did make some progress on the Riders of Rohan, but not close to finishing them.  Hoping to wrap them up this week. No new figure purchases + 1 hydroplane puts me at +25 for the year.

Music to paint by

Best of Cream

When I was 13 I bought a copy of Best of Cream.  Yes it was an anthology by the British supergroup. I think I heard two songs on the record before buying: “Sunshine of Your Love,” and “White Room.”  I bought it instead of repaying a friend for an order he made to the Soldier Shop in New York.  I was terrible.

Ultimately, it was a great record I really enjoyed listening to.  Unfortunately it was a record that was relatively unknown by a lot of my peers.  I was in the eighth grade and I brought the album to school and nobody had ever heard of Cream.  I was suddenly the cool kid listening to something nobody else had.  I think that lasted for twenty minutes before I returned to being the nerdy kid who built plastic models and played Avalon Hill games.

I usually avoid “Best of” collections like the plague. I believe you learn much more about a band by listening to all of their music without just cherry picking the best.  Unfortunately, being able to buy individual MP3’s have made us lazier or less mature listeners. Alas, I have no other Cream albums, but some day I’ll have all of them: Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire, Good-bye.  But with “I Feel Free,” “Crossroads,” “The Tales of Brave Ulysses,” “Badge” and other great songs to go with those previously mentioned, this is a very good filler. The cover is cool too.

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Thunderboats v. 2.0: Painting the Pickleforks are hard

I really enjoyed painting the 1950’s and 60’s hydroplanes for our Thunderboats! games.  I’ve painted 23 of the 1/72ndish scale boats cast by Sean McEvoy for the game.  I found them to be a joy to take on.  Mostly blocks of color with some numbers and lettering and often a symbol or emblem to paint.  Kind of like painting HYW heraldry only a little easier.

But as I move on to paint those 70’s boats, they are definitely different. The new hulls with the picklefork noses are larger-longer and broader-as they become a bit more stable and safe after the carnage of the middle 60’s. The wider hulls sit deeper in the water, so almost all the detail on the boats are now on the decking.

Not only that, but the paint schemes of the 60’s definitely change during the 70’s.  Instead of the nice block styles, the paint schemes are linear and colorful.  Often lines run the entire deck, and boats like the Pay ‘N Pak have their name in huge multi-colored lettering along the entire deck.

The 1979 Squire Shop and the 1968 Miss Bardahl in the Smyth boatyard.  Not far on either yet, and both will take lots of extra TLC.

The 1979 Squire Shop and the 1968 Miss Bardahl in the Smyth boatyard. Not far on either yet, and both will take lots of extra TLC.

No big deal for a graphics designer working 1:1, a bit more of a challenge for an old blind guy like me working at 1:72.

1981_U-2_The_Squire_Shop_Hull_7902_

Both of the above pictures are of the 1979 Squire Shop.  In a year that was swept by Bill Muncey's Atlas Van Lines, a very young Chip Hanauer drove the Squire to victory in the Seafair Race.  It is a beautiful boat with striking, hard-to-paint markings.

Both of the above pictures are of the 1979 Squire Shop. In a year that was swept by Bill Muncey’s Atlas Van Lines, a very young Chip Hanauer drove the Squire to victory in the Seafair Race. It is a beautiful boat with striking, hard-to-paint markings.

The first boat I’m painting is one of my favorites, The Squire Shop from 1979.  As you can see, the boat has some nice red and mahogany (I’m using both colors from Vallejo,) but it’s also a plethora of white lines, that have to show up against that background and remain pretty straight.  There is a Squire Shop emblem and then an Olde English font.  I’ve been working away at it as you can see, and probably have a couple of hours into the cab forward hydroplane.

MissBardahl1968bow

If I was going to imagine a boat guaranteed to make me tear my hair out, it would probably look like this.  But it is somethin'.

If I was going to imagine a boat guaranteed to make me tear my hair out, it would probably look like this. But it is somethin’.

The next boat I’ll take on is the 1968 Miss Bardahl.  Slight change in hull design from the classics, but not the picklefork hull. Again, there is the more daring graphics, a departure from the block coloring and lettering.  Not quite sure how I’ll paint the checks all over, but I’m certainly excited to give it a try.

I’ll keep you posted.

What’s On My Painting Table?

I know the picture is dark, but hopefully you can see the minis are coming along. Perry Miniatures Volunteers of Ireland.

I know the picture is dark, but hopefully you can see the minis are coming along. Perry Miniatures Volunteers of Ireland.

Well, hydroplanes of course.  Yes, you’re right, I do have issues with painting ADHD, so I usually have something else going on as well, and it is those same Perry Volunteers of Ireland.  I’m making progress, and hoping to maybe even finish painting the sixteen figures tonight.  They’ve gone fairly quickly, but are not without challenges.  The Brandenburg lace is a bit hard to see, and these figures feel smaller than my other Perry AWI figures, almost as small as the Fife and Drum British guards I painted a while back.

Even so, the painting has gone pretty smoothly. The lace wasn’t horrific to paint except for the silver on the officers.  There won’t be a lot to highlight.  Looks like I won’t finish tonight but after a super painting day, they are at least close.

And For Your Listening Pleasure

I’ve always liked the idea of The Pretenders, and have a copy of their 1994 CD Last of the Independents.  But I’ve never really had a chance to give a good listen to the music that made them famous.  I picked up a copy of their first record, titled simply The Pretenders and gave it a good listen.

It’s a solid record steeped in new wave, punk and solid pop music.  With semi-autographical lyrics by frontman Chryssie Hynde, it blends some great musicianship with snarling vocals.  There is a solid cover of the Kinks hit, “Stop Your Sobbing,” and “Brass in Pocket” became a big MTV hit. My favorite song, however is “Kids” which combines some snarling guitar with some wise and prescient words about the loss of privacy that comes with celebrity.  There is some anger on this record and there is some introspection, but most of all it’s a collection of excellent, pointed songs that represents some of the best of its era.

Making my Enfilade plans

One of my Enfilade projects will be to assemble and paint these 1970's era hydroplanes courtesy of Sean McEvoy.  It will be fun.

One of my Enfilade projects will be to assemble and paint these 1970’s era hydroplanes courtesy of Sean McEvoy. It will be fun.

I’m a planner.  Always have been when it comes to convention games.  Last year I helped Dave with the St. Nazaire game, and ran a pair of sizable Lion Rampant games.  They both required some prep time, but I made plans early and didn’t have to rush, except to get in a last minute play test. It involved hundreds and hundreds of miniatures and a car load of stuff.

I’m already making my Memorial Day plans and I’m aiming for a much smaller carload of stuff.

Here is what’s on the docket and what I’ll need to do to prepare

At least one session of Thunderboats!

  • This is my hydroplane racing game and I already have dozens of painted boats.  But a couple years ago I bought the next generation of boats–all picklefork hulls and cab forward designs from the 1970’s from Sean McEvoy.  I’ve been working on assembling them today.  There are seven of them, and I’d like to get them all done for the con.  Likely will run this game on Friday night.
  • May run a second session early Friday using the older boats.  I have a couple of older boats to paint, including two drop sponson hulls and the huge Thriftway Two, which is  one of a kind.

The Channel Dash 1942

This game will be modeled on the flight of the two German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisnau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from the Breton port of Brest to German North Sea ports. Likely a Saturday afternoon and evening game.

  • This is probably a two session game I’ll do with Daveshoe.  Dave is going to tackle the big ol’ models of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen.  There are also some auxiliaries.  Don’t know how many will need to be done.  I’ll focus on painting some Royal Air Force planes.  It’s shaping up to be a bunch of Spitfires, Whirlwinds, Beauforts and Swordfish.  I may opt for a few more planes including some Wellington bombers just for the hell of it. Maybe two dozen planes in all.
  • The second period will be the attack of the British light naval forces on the forces screening the large German naval units.  Not quite sure what my painting responsibilities will be here. I do have a great model of a German torpedo boat to assemble and paint.

A big ol Ironclads game

I’ve been negotiating with David Sullivan about dragging out some of our 1/600 scale ACW ships for an Ironclads game.  I know, we mostly play Sail and Steam Navies around here these days, but I still have a fondness for the old Yaquinto rules.  It’s going to be mostly hypothetical, though the ships will be mostly historical.  It will involve forts and reversal of roles. I’m hoping to persuade David this should be a Sunday game, but I have more flexibility than he does.

  • Doesn’t look like my painting responsibilities should be too bad.  I’m thinking a big Bay Area Yards star fort and a couple of ships, one of which I don’t own.  Not sure, there may be more I have to pick up, but we’ll have to see.

What’s On Your Painting Table?

Stalled out painting the Volunteers of Ireland today.  Will make progress this week.

Stalled out painting the Volunteers of Ireland today. Will make progress this week.

With the Baueda tent safely painted and tucked away . . . somewhere, I moved on to working on my next project–Perry’s Volunteers of Ireland.  Haven’t gotten too far with them.  I worked on them for a couple of hours on Saturday during the Huskies apocalyptic failure against Oregon.  Bleah.  Made progress.  Got very little of anything done today (Sunday.)  Just not feeling great.  Nursing some sort of weird virus that is giving me some nasty headache action.

Rather than paint, I decided to start working with the resin hydroplanes I’ll need to do for my racing game.  These are all blank resin kits.  They mostly require some sanding, but they also had much different tails from the hydroplane minis from the 60’s, so there is some assembly required-not my long suit.  I’m not quite sure what boats I’ll be painting and I’ll definitely need some reference photos but, I’m leaning toward the following: Miss Pay N’ Pak, Atlas Van Lines, Squire Shop, Oh Boy Oberto, Miss Bardahl (checked version) and others.

And Now For Your Listening Pleasure

Especially For YouIn 1986, the New Wave, the New Romantics, and disco had passed on.  The Police were breaking up, and U2 was getting ready to record one of the best records of all time. The musical scene was fluid and and was fertile ground for an American band called The Smithereens.  Especially For You was their first record and it is quite good.  If you are of a certain age, remember the British Invasion,  or have a fondness for bands like The Beatles (early phase,) the Kinks, or the Hollies, or even early Elvis Costello, you would recognize their influence in the music. It tends to be up-tempo and  instrumentally straightforward, with lyrics that are anything but happy and carefree.  There aren’t any throwaway tracks, and my favorites include “Strangers When We Meet,” “Time and Time Again,” and “Blood and Roses.”  I’m actually interested in trying Green Thoughts, their second record. Definitely worth a listen.

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.

 

Fix Bayonets: Back to the Future

I love Fix Bayonets.  It’s a small gathering hosted by the Fort Steilacoom Historical Association (or something like that,) a preservation group aimed at keeping up the oldest buildings in Western Washington.  Each year Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump host a modest gathering in one of the original fort buildings and we play a day’s worth of games for a modest entry fee that goes toward the many needs of the maintaining the site.  It’s a nice fundraiser for them and we certainly have a good time.

I was particularly looking forward to yesterday’s event, because I hoped to see an old friend there.  Scott Appleby recently joined the NHMGS Facebook page, and I had my fingers crossed he would be at this event.  I played Fire and Steel Napoleonics with Scott back in the 70’s and 80’s.  But as I gradually became more involved with NHMGS and took on different projects we lost touch.  I hadn’t seen him in twenty years.  So when he came to the event I was thrilled.  It made my day.  A semi-truck could have backed over my hydroplanes, and it still would have been a very good day.

I ran a Thunderboats game in the morning period.  It’s a great game for gatherings like this because after the first twenty minutes it almost runs itself.  It was actually an exciting game because my friend Chris Bauermeister, who always has terrible die rolls in my games, had stupendously good die rolls.  He got off to an early lead in the Miss Bardahl that he never relinquished.  In fact it was never even that close.  Bill Vanderpool and Al Rivers both bought nitrous bottles, used them and both had some interesting moments with flames. There was lots of risk-taking, which makes for a fairly fun game.  I went through an entire deck of event cards-a first.  But, with a lot of risk taking goes a high attrition rate, and four boats did not finish.  Still a lot of fun, as Thunderboats usually is.

Chris Bauermeister rolled a twelve on a 12-sided die on turn one and never looked back.  Miss Bardahl won the race quite comfortably.

Chris Bauermeister rolled a twelve on a 12-sided die on turn one and never looked back. Miss Bardahl won the race quite comfortably.

A look at the also-rans coming into turn one.  Scott Appleby, racing Doug's Hamm's Beer boat didn't survive turn two.

A look at the also-rans coming into turn one. Scott Appleby, racing Doug’s Hamm’s Beer boat didn’t survive turn two.

 

There some other interesting looking games in the morning session. Scott Williams brought up his Galactic Knights game from Olympia.  Bruce Smith also ran a pre-dreadnought naval game.

We dashed down to Steilcoom to our favorite sandwich shoppe for lunch and I got to talk to Scott and some of the guys a bit longer.  Scott is also a teacher so we talked some shop, as well as about the Huskies.  So it was a good time.

During the afternoon session I decided to play in Hugh Singh’s 28mm Sky Galleons of Mars game. I’m a sucker for SGoM, so it didn’t really take a lot to convince me to play.  Hugh converted  three Stonehouse Miniatures resin gunboats into flying vessels for Mars. He did a really nice job using some Houston’s Guns  and crew for the armament, as well as using some interesting bits for Martian tether mines and fire pots.  Very nice and very serviceable.

Hugh Sing's Austrian gunboat was quite a death dealer at Fix Bayonets

Hugh Sing’s Austrian gunboat was quite a death dealer at Fix Bayonets

 

I really liked the touches on Hugh's Martian sky galley.  The firepots fore and the tether mines aft are quite nice.

I really liked the touches on Hugh’s Martian sky galley. The firepots fore and the tether mines aft are quite nice.

 

Gene Anderson brought up his vessel from Centralia, a gorgeous (and huge) Endtime screw galley.  Gene constructed the deck and skeleton from plans and covered the hull with planking fabric and coated it with liquid starch.  It looked amazing, and takes its place alongside Mark Waddington’s Aphid and Ranger as examples of superb modeling.

Gene Anderson's Endtime gunboat is an exquisite model.  Constructed using fabric coated with liquid starch, Gene was able to achieve the unique shape of the most common Martian ship.

Gene Anderson’s Endtime gunboat is an exquisite model. Constructed using fabric coated with liquid starch, Gene was able to achieve the unique shape of the most common Martian ship.

The nicest touch to the Endtime model is Gene's creation of the bridge in the lower hull.  Great work Gene.

The nicest touch to the Endtime model is Gene’s creation of the bridge in the lower hull. Great work Gene.

 

Unfortunately bad things often happen when a single Martian vessel takes on an Earth gunboat.  I commanded Hugh’s Austrian gunboat with two long 4″ guns.  It was fast enough to keep the bigger Martian craft from closing and with superior firepower, slowly began to pound the Endtime to pieces.  When we decided to call the game, the screw galley lost all but one of its guns and the crew was about 50%.  It was having difficulty maintaining altitude, and with about a third of its turncranks dead, was half the speed of my vessel.  I took only slight damage to my hull and crew.

Word is out that there are plans for a big 28mm Sky Galleons game at Enfilade. That would be pretty to see, but we sure need to plan how to run it. That will require quite a bit of room.

There were some other great games in the afternoon period too.  Chris B. hosted a Cold War armor battle.  Bruce ran a big Korea vs. Japan ancients game with some pretty smooth looking rules. Paul Grandstaff hosted a Check Your Six game.  Bruce Smith ran a very cool looking post-apocalyptic game in a very trashed city.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the organizers were pretty happy with the support.  It was an early in, early out kind of day, and I was able to be home by 3:30 to see most of the Huskies game.

Racing at Enfilade

Gee Bee Z leads Gee Bee Y in the early stages of Golden Age Air Racing on Saturday night

Gee Bee Z leads Gee Bee Y in the early stages of Golden Age Air Racing on Saturday night

I ran a pair of racing games at Enfilade. Friday night I pulled out the inaugural race for my Shapeways planes.  Saturday night I hauled out the hydros for a Thunderboats! game. Both were quite fun, and I have lots to share about both.

I run Golden Age Air Racing at the Museum of Flight each year, so my planes are often out where the public sees them.  However, I don’t often bring them to Enfilade.  It requires three large tubs to hault the 1/48th planes around, and I often have a carful of other stuff to bring to the convention, so they’re easily left at home.  Not so much the 1/144th planes.  Just a single tub for the pylons, and a smallish plastic box for the planes.

I made space for seven racers and with 12 planes let everyone make their choices.  Some were veterans, like Doug, Arthur, and John, while others were noobs, like Jeff and Owen. For some the race started off with a bang, as racers went full throttle at every opportunity, while others pushed every corner.  Others took a little time to get oriented.  By the end, however, everyone was madly screaming for the finish line.  Jeff Condon won the race on the final turn, and I doubt he’ll ever miss any race ever again.  Odd fact–Bruce Harborne suffered an engine stall on the second turn in all three laps.  That’s a tough way to win.

With the race over on Friday night, I decided to enter the three Gee Bees in the painting competition, and they won in the aircraft category.  That they had no competition means little to me.

Saturday was the Thunderboats! night.  There was some buzz about the boat race.  I’d run into Sean the night before and he told me he had some new boat miniatures he’d brought to the convention.  Picklefork hulls from the 70’s and 80’s, but still pre-turbines. He showed them to me, and they were absolutely beautiful miniatures.  I promised to buy six of the boats on race night.  I made sure Sean got into the event.

Chris's Tahoe Miss passes Jeff's Miss Wahoo, while John's Miss Bardahl follows closely.

Chris’s Tahoe Miss passes Jeff’s Miss Wahoo, while Nick’s Miss Madison follows closely.

When the event arrived, it was filled mostly with those who hadn’t raced before, including Jeff, Nick and Darcy.  But there were some cunning veterans like Chris, Sean and John too.  I had a feeling it could get wild.  And it did as Henry Sr. and Henry Jr. burst into the lead.  Both Henrys lit up their nitrous bottles early and took an early lead as Junior promptly set himself on fire. He put it out quickly, but both busted quill shafts early and fell out of the race.  John was driven out with a bad hull bounce.  After a rocky start, Chris eventually took a lead he would not relinquish, but barely edged out Nick who had a stupendous finish.  A late stalled engine put Jeff out of the running and Sean and Darcy battled to finish.  All agreed the game was a lot of fun, and that’s all we can ask.

I’ve pledged more games for the near future.