Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Post-Sandy – Out of the Ashes.. Err, Mud…Whatever!

Yeah, I know the pic is a lame, overused joke – but I still like it!

OK, life post-hurricane Sandy is, for us, almost back to normal. We dealt with 12 days and 16 hours without power, 13 and a half without phone, internet, and cable tv. No damage to the house either due to falling trees and no flood damage as we hand bailed out the sump pump pit every few hours. Many were far less fortunate. Please join me in donating to the American Red Cross to aid them. LINK My workplace matches donations - please check if yours does the same.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sandy continues to give...

Well, here we are at day 11 without power. Way to go JCP&L. Are people waking up to the fact that deregulation is not a panacea for all things? Especially utilities. Proper maintenance is not done when a company is squeezing out the last dollar. And that's ok except when it's a monopoly like utilities. So yes, I could pay my bill to another company, but they all use the same lines and they are maintained by JCP&L.

Just to keep everyone up to date, here is a shot of the progress on my painting bench:

And this is a peak at figs I have recently completed:

This is so friggin' depressing. So much added stress and ZERO stress relief. At least I can access the internet at work.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hey Babe, Take a walk on the wild side...

So this weekend I was given a free ticket to the New York Comicon held at the Javits Center. I have been an avid comic collector at several points in my life, but now I just pick up the occasional issue. The last comic convention I was at was probably at the Javits about 20 years ago. Back then it occupied one small gallery on the lowest floor. My, Oh My, things have changed!

My first clue was when I was walking from the PATH station to the Javits. I'm 4.5 long, Manhattan blocks away. And I notice to my left I'm walking with Thor.

Yeah, that's different. And wait, that guy has a superman cape peeking out of his backpack...

Sunday, October 7, 2012


After giving an overview of the Blue Moon Transylvania and talking about the level of resin dust, I decided I should really get off my duff, clean them up, and give them a coat of primer. Thus the last week or so has become a somewhat manic period - 25 pieces cleaned and primed. Every night consists of a round of priming parts washed the night before, selecting another set of parts to clean, wash, and leave out to dry, followed by slipping the primed parts over and coating there reverse side. if I am in a very productive mood I could get two rounds done a day (Krylon Indoor/Outdoor primer dries very fast).

A stack of primed sub-assemblies

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Smackdown Update

Just a quick note -

I have been experimenting with DivShare to distribute PDFs for Super Mega Hyper Mecha Smackdown.

Check out the S.M.H.M.S. page link on the right.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hey Blue Moon! Show us your backsides!: Transylvanian Edition


In honor of the coming Halloween season and the popularity of “Hey Blue Moon! Show us your backsides!” SF building post, I thought I would do the same for the Blue Moon Transylvania buildings I bought a year or so ago.

But first things first – if you are looking for the 15HOR-204 Transylvania Castle – you can skip this post as it is the one set in the Transylvania series I did not get. I have not gotten it because 1) it has a high sticker price, and 2) I haven’t painted what I have yet so it seemed to be a little too ambitious. So let's think of it as "deferred" for now...

Unlike the SF buildings which came in poly bags, the Transylvania buildings come in corrugated cardboard cartons with each piece of resin wrapped in newspaper.  All buildings have separate roofs without locator pins or strips, and interiors without detail.

So what did I get? Let’s start with the very impressive 15HOR-203 Borgo Pass Inn.

The Inn consists of six resin castings and a bag of metal castings. The resin parts are made up of three roofs, the major portion of the building, and two smaller castings which are overhangs/balconies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Experimenting with Cheap Airbrushes

Ah, airbrushing.  This tool pops up on the old inter-webs in lots of guises: the indispensible tool, the magic wand, the frustrating demon best ignored. At any given moment, I have found them to be any or all of these, but what I’d like to talk about today is my experience with a couple of cheap ones.
Most talk about cheap airbrushes as being a low cost point of entry. I do not recommend them for that at all. If you want to do “serious” airbrushing you really need to get a serious airbrush – there is no shortcut, IMHO. I use cheap airbrushes for very simple tasks when I don’t want to risk my better brushes.

The airbrushes today are from Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight is a mail-order tool company in the US which also has some retail outlets. In my opinion, some of what Harbor Freight sells is very good and some clearly show their imported-for-the-cheapest-price roots. Let’s take a look.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OMG! Blue Moon SF#1 complete!

Hey, hey! Did a quick salt weathering on the antennae. Sprayed a light layer of "dust" over the entire building with a concentration around the bottom. The dust is a 50/50 mix of Delta Ceramcoat Sandstone and Spice Tan. I recently picked up a cheapo airbrush from Harbor freight and found this to be a great way to get a "simple" coat like a dust layer down fast. I'll knock out a dedicated article to the Harbor Freight brush later this week.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sneaking out to a show...

I usually try and keep show reports for special posts, but as this weeks update is insubstantial (intermediate work on some 15mm heavy fauns and the start of another group of faun archers) I thought I would share a little of a show I snuck out to today...

NJHMA Expo 2012

Immaculate Tamiya Super 7
I've been attending the NJHMA Expo for over thirty years and have been a member of at least 23. Back-in-the-day it was a predominantly figure club with a few modelers, toy soldier collectors and a few militaria folks mixed in for good measure. The Expo was a huge, multi-day affair. Now the membership is about 10% of its peak, the club is predominantly model builders, and the Expo is a one day show. Such are the ravages of a graying hobby.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Canvas Wings and more Fur Pants

Hey, hey! Had to do some travel for business and travel prep, execution, and recovery have kept me from the painting table. Here's where I go to before I boarded the great silver bird -

Here is a sample of the 6 faun archers that are now completed. I added some Silfor tufts just to break up things up from the usual static grass. Here's a back view -

I started on the next batch, some heavy infantry

And finally, got the antennae primed for the Blue Moon SF building.

Before I left, I also got to play a game with Krimso. As those of you you follow his blog may recall, he finished some WWI planes for a game at Historicon that did not get played. Krimso introduced me to Blue Skies, Wood, and Canvas. We played a few scenarios; I played Germans and Krimso played Brits. It was a fun game that I would like to try again. Most of my WWI aero experience is either from the old Avalon Hill board game Richthofen's War and the now out-of-print miniature game Hostile Aircraft. HA was basically a miniatures based version of Richthofen's and both were on the more complicated side. Blue Skies (etc,etc) is a relatively simple game; Krimso had us up and running in a few minutes, and that was a great change of pace. I got the itch to pull out the H.A. planes that have not seen daylight in a decade.

Well, time to get back to the painting table!


Sunday, August 5, 2012


This week I tried an experiment.

When it comes to figure prep, I can at times be.... let's call it "overzealous". After mold line clean up, I usually scrub the miniature, air dry for a day or so, prime (lately with Tamiya primer), and then start to base coat. This is a long process. I've read many posts on the web with folks successfully skipping many of these steps. For the Splintered Light fauns, rather than priming and then base coating, I tried using Rustoleum Camouflage Earth Brown to prime and base coat in one. Yes, I probably could have ordered one of those Army Painter primers, but no suitable tone was available at my local game store. Walmart had the camo paint.

So pros and cons:
Pro: Earth Brown is a very dark brown. It provides a great natural tone for shadows which I prefer over black.
Pro: Speeds up painting
Pro: Super dead flat. Flatter than flat. Fall off the edge of the world flat.
Pro: Cheap (under $4)
Con: Not quite as tough as real primer. A couple of high point rubbed off during handling.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gettin' My Fur Pants On!

While playing a game of Ares with Krimso, I bemoaned the lack of variety. Whenever we have played 15mm fantasy, we have used his figures and we tend to use all of them. Krimso rightly told me that I could paint the 15mm fantasy I had kicking around if I wanted variety. 

I hate it when Krimso's right.

When I was at Historicon, I decided to add to the (unpainted) fauns I bought from Splintered Light a couple years ago. That's right - nothing get's unfinished lead done like more unfinished lead! Splintered Light had announced some new archer, heavy infantry, and shaman fawns. 

So far I have cleaned up and based one pack of archers and half a pack of heavy infantry. They are ready for priming!

There are two poses in each pack of 12 figures.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More Mecha Smackdown

Thought this week I would talk a little about the playing field. This is a the first pass:

The board is made up of four 2'x2' black foamcore panels. Artwork was created on a computer and printed out on 8.5"x11" full sheet labels. Additional labels were made for the circles witht he numbers (these are the starting positions for the mecha. This entire board will eventually be replaced with one of fiberboard and painted to match the barriers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chipping Away

This week did a little bit more work on Blue Moon SF Building 1. I felt that the rust spots done completely with the powder, though nice, still needed a little more. I used two shades of brown ink, thinned downed, to make some water stains and to break up some of the dusty blotches.

I also fixed the resin bubble in the door canopy with a little bit of epoxy putty and a quick dab of paint. Below is a shot of some water drips making the rust blotchier:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gettin' Dirty

It has been a pretty busy week, what with the U.S. holiday and all, but I have moved the Blue Moon building a little but forward. Alsoo Photobucket was having re-sizing issues and wouldn't let me upload. Today's photos are straight into Blogger, so no click to enlarge this week - sorry!

Using some weathering powder from Branden Enterprises. I did A little bit of weathering.

I've used three different brown shades to provide some variety.

I also switched the roof edging from black to shades of grey. Next I'll seal the powder with some Dullcoat and then spray on a coat of dust. Might also go back in with some brown washed to break up the rust tones a little.

I'm also considering making a completely new radio dish. As mentioned last week, I want to make a new mast, but the more I look at the dish provided, the more it looks too thick and heavy. Looks more like a flight base than a radio dish of the future.

Also in my puttering I finished a second Exemplar Cinerator.

These things have been giving me fits. I have been painting these for so long I do not remember when I started. I have to admit I am not that thrilled with Privateer Press's plastic. I find it very hard to clean mold lines. It's not so bad on a Warjack, but when you get into highly detailed figures like the Cinerators, I keep finding mold lines were I was sure I cleaned. I also feel that the longer I paint these the worse they get. The remaining three are almost done, but they have been in that state since New Years.

That's it for this week. Time to start prep for Historicon!


Friday, June 29, 2012

There's something going wrong around here...

Ahh, Joe Jackson, gotta love him.

I have been thinking a lot about this blog lately. Perhaps it’s because I have been reading The Frontline Gamer so much, and he regularly self analyzes his blog. I know I should post more, so why don’t I? I think it’s because, unless I am reporting on an event, I strive for the absolute best I can do.  And I spend so much time trying to make a post better that posting takes forever. I guess it’s a kind of performance anxiety.

So in order to combat this, I’ve decided to start a new “feature”. Every weekend I will take some pics of whatever I have been working on and talk about it. I will just knock it out and try not to treat it like I am trying to get a Pulitzer.  I suppose at some point I’ll come up with a snappy name, but for now let’s go with “Update”.

So on to Update#1.

Several months ago I posted about the Blue Moon SF buildings. I have been working on one of them and here are some in process pics.

I’m going for the full weather beaten effect. It was base coated with some Testor’s desert tan, sponce painted with Polly-Scale concrete. The doors were painted with a tarnished steel. Everything was sealed with several coats of Testor’s Dullcote.

After I did the hair spray and salt application (type "salt weathering technique" on YouTube), I coated it with several shades of Testor’s enamel using a cheapo airbrush I picked up from Harbor Freight for about $10 (I didn’t want to gum up my good airbrushes which I shoot acrylic through). I did a little bit of dry brushing on some of the window louvers.

After if all dried I ran it under warm water and used a stiff brush to remove the salt and achieve the chipped effect. I had thought using enamel would help hold better where the salt wasn’t, but the hair spray lifted as well and I ended up with a more weather beaten effect than I planned. The black on the roof edge was an experiment; I think I will go with more of a charcoal grey. Still to do is rust spotting and an overall dusting and it should be done.

I should also note some physical mods I made to the kit. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the roof section was not quite as long as the building so I added a shim. I also put two locator strips on the underside of the roof. For the communication dish I added a small brass tube to insert into a hole at the top of the tower so that I could take it off for transport. You can see in the picture below the pewter mast is too soft and is bending where it attached to the dish. I will replace it completely with brass rod.

Well, that’s it for Update #1. I’ll see you next week (if not sooner). Please let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Great Slippery Slope

Being like most gamers, I am sitting on a vast, ecological disaster sized pile of lead.

And yet lately I have been hungering for a new game.

Perhaps it is because for the last few years I have been focused on 15mm and now look for something in 28mm. Perhaps it's because I have been reading too many game reviews over at The Frontline Gamer. Perhaps it's because I am a total gaming slut and cannot remain loyal to just one game.

Be that as it may, I boiled things down to Freebooter's Fate and Infinity. Now while these choices could indicate Frontline's bloody fingerprints all over my decision. In all honesty, I was thinking about these games for a while and searching for reviews on them is, in fact, how I discovered that blog. So to help make the choice I threw it over to my frequent gaming buddy krimso.

Now before I get to the choice, I'd like to share a little bit of what went into the choice.

Both games have exquisite figures and are exquisitely priced ($10-14/per individual figure). But beyond the figures, you have to look at over all entry cost. I am consistently amazed at new games that come out with $50 hard back books. I live in the USA, in one of its highest populated states. Despite that, it is very hard to find opportunities to try out new games. My impression is that in the UK - well England anyway - gaming clubs are much more common and opportunities to try before you buy are higher. I often have to try new games from a "cold start" - I buy a rule book and two starter armies (so I can sucker in an opponent). In the case of Freebooter's fate this is $150 investment in a game purely based on a few reviews you read on line. I'm also interested in Carneval which is a similar proposition. This is a tough hurdle to overcome.

So the choice of new game is Infinity - they have free rules on their website to get started (full rules - not neutered "starter rule", I was able to convince krimso to give it a go so I only had to buy one starter set (which I got for $30 on ebay). Now if I like the game, I'll get the rulebook but I'll now what I'm into by then. If I don't like it, I'm not even out the $30 as I could easily use them with StarGrunt.

I really think game companies need to think about this more. If Freebooter's Fate had free rules (and didn't require unique cards to play) it might have been the game my buddy and I are getting into now.

If you're still curious, I went with Aleph -

I also got some really nice bases from Dragon Forge, their Omega Prime line....

Hey, wait a minute! Maybe this IS all Frontline's fault!

I get to play a Game!

Rather an odd title for a blog about gaming...

These days between work and family life, I don’t get to play a game as often as I’d like. So it was with great pleasure that a couple weeks ago I got to help krimso work on a game for NJCON 4.
Halfling village

Krimso and I are both very fond of the of the Ares skirmish rules. We like that they are based on a die types varying with skill (harkening back to StarGrunt – a personal favorite), and flexible enough to cover any mini you have. Now krimso has been bit by the orders bug from playing Rackham’s Ragnarok and has been looking for a way to incorporate them in a game that uses more figures than a pure skirmish, but less than that of an element or large base type of game. On this night we played a scenario using his latest Ares cocktail.
Just after Kobold start

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Frontline Gamer

Just wanted to jot a few words about another blog, The Frontline Gamer.
The purpose of this is two fold.

First it's the blog's one year birthday and he is holding a follower drive. Every time his follower count passes a certain threshold he gives away a prize. Mention the birthday in your blog an you get an extra chance and he is giving away some tasty stuff. SO this ends the mercenary part.

The second is it really is a splendid blog. I stumbled on it a few months ago and it has become one of a handful of blogs that I follow religiously. FLG (if I may be so informal) writes many entries a week covering reviews of games, figures, and game related shows. In addition, and my favorite, are the more philosophical Sunday Sermon entries. Among my favorites are "Are you in an abusive relationship?" and "Don't play this game it'll die!". He has the talent for being thought provoking without being rabid - a rare talent on the internet!

I was happy to discover the blog was only one year old, and have set myself the task of reading every entry since inception. So go forth (all 5 of you that read my blog) and give it a look!

Monday, May 21, 2012

MFCA 2012

MFCA – The Miniature Figure Collector’s of America – held their 71st show on May 18th and 19th. It’s billed as the oldest and largest show of its kind. I have not been to the MFCA show since around 2006 but made the trip this year in an attempt to get my painting mojo back. I haven’t painted a non-gaming figure in years, and I feel like even my gaming figure painting skill has stalled. So with hope in my heart I pilgrimage was made, and I found a show changed in many ways, and perhaps due for some bigger changes in the future.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

GZG-ECC 15, Part.3

Part.3 …. and also Part-The-Last. You can all breathe a sigh of relief now.

So, here are a couple other games from Saturday night. Stuart Murray expanded the city from Friday night’s “Battle for Lancaster” game for use in “Exterminate! Exterminate!”, a bit of Who-vian splendor using Stargrunt. I was tempted to cancel my own game so I could play. Got to love the Doctor!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GZG-ECC 15, Part.2

Nnnnnnuts! I had this entry done Saturday, but I had foolishly written it directly into blogger. One random motion and it was wiped. So Part.2, Take 2.

Saturday morning I played “D8 Galactic Derelict”. It was a Space Hulk-ish kind of scenario using the D8 System by Bad Idea Games. The D8 system was created for their Fantasy WW1 game “Arses High, Orcs in the Sky” (AH for now). It utilizes some custom D8s that have Lite, Medium, and Heavy on them. Different characters types accept different results from the dice. If I recall correctly, there was an opposed die roll. Anyway, I had wanted to play AH, but I had promised another GM to play his game which was in the same slot. I thought I would give “D8 Galactic Derelict” a try to see what the mechanics were like. I’m glad I did. The mechanics are fairly simple but had after a few turns you start to see strategy options that made the game a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GZG-ECC 15, Part.1

Well, sure it's two months after the fact, but it's still more timely than my reportage last year!

Once again, if you are missed this convention, you are missing the best three days of SF gaming. Fun games, great people, and mellow.

This year we were blessed by unseasonably good weather so the drive up was quick and painless. What did take me by surprise was the hotel was under reconstruction. The hotel sits along the banks of the mighty Susquehanna river, and apparently the huge snowstorm that hit the east coast in October of 2011 resulted in the first floor of the hotel being flooded. All of the rooms on the first floor were closed for remodeling - the place was gutted. Our room on the second floor was fine though, and the restaurant had been restored, so other than the somewhat spooky walk through the first floor hallway to get to the lobby, everything was copacetic.

So let's jump to what it's all about, the games! This year was an experiment: non-GZG games were permitted with convention director approval. This was an excellent addition which not only provides greater variety, but will hopefully attract more folks to the con. My first game was a non-GZG game; a neat 4 player game using Ambush Alley rules with touches taken from Tomorrow's War. It was called Battle for Lancaster by Stuart Murray. (All these pics should enlarge by clicking)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Blue Moon SF Update #1

Well, I have started working on building #1 and in the priming/basecoat stage I have noted a few flaws I thought I should pass along. I've also taken the precaution of calling this "Update #1" if things continue to pop up on this build.

Let me be clear up front - despite these flaws I still think these are freaking awesome buildings!

First up, there is some kind of wave in the rooftop fencing. Note how the line of the barrier moves away from the roof edge.