Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why Am I So Busy...

This is supposed to be vacation time, dammit!

The annual trip for the wife and horses has historically allowed me a ton of extra time to focus on the real important stuff, like miniatures and everything that goes along with that - building, painting, story/game ideas. And this year I really thought I'd make big strides seeing as Jakob is away at University, so I'm all alone at home. But we're remodeling the master bathroom, as well as completely stripping the barn for cleaning and painting - so needless to say I'm actually working more now than when the horses were here??!! What kind of nonsense is that? And I'm way behind on my read list for blogs too, so apologies to all those I follow - I'm going through them all now :)

I have been getting some things done (though the PA Old West AAR is still being sorted) and of course made my way over to Kickstarter again lol!

So Kickstarter - how cool does this game look! UBOOT is a real-time tabletop game of WW2 submarine warfare. An underwater cooperative war thriller that allows 1 to 4 players to assume the roles of the Captain, the First Officer, the Navigator, and the Chief Engineer on board of a type VIIC U-boat.

The game is enhanced by a companion app, allowing for an unprecedented level of realism, as well as a challenging enemy A.I. which will push your skills to the limit. The action unfolds both on the strategic and the tactical scale, always demanding teamwork, efficient crew management, and quick situation assessment.

Here is the Beasts of War play through video, which was really cool and what ultimately made me a backer - once they spotted the convoy it felt like watching a movie in a way with all the orders given through table talk.

I've managed to build quite a few 4Ground kits as well. I grabbed 3 of the middle eastern bundles meant for SAGA, but felt they'd be perfect for an American southwestern setting (though they need to be more white in color) as well as a desert setting.

With some customization around the exposed bricks I think the model will really improve visually.

The details of the cracked plaster and wood beams is top notch.

Here's where 4Ground really dropped the ball though. The interior floor has no detailing, it's just plain MDF. Sure you could put some sand or do your own stone work on the floor, but his is a huge miss for me, especially when they have flagstone right in front of the doors and stairs.

The smallest of the 3 kits.

Again, really nice details on the exterior walls.

And the huge disappointment once you take the roof off.

The stairwells are a nice addition for making gameplay on the roofs more easily accessible.

One thing these kits did not come with were ladders - you'd think with the roof hatches they would include one with each building.

Each kit comes with walls, but I also bought an additional set that has longer straight walls.

The walls all are designed with locking capability, which is a really nice addition. Again, some customization to the exposed bricks will improve the look.

Here is a close-up of the locking design.

I've also had my eye on the entire Fable Realms line from 4Ground for quite some time and this kit I found while re-organizing in a box of figures - I'd forgotten I'd even bought it. I really thought this whole line could represent Hogsmeade, from the Harry Potter world, pretty easily - especially since there is a new Harry Potter game coming out from Knight Models.

The entire line has a really neat look to them, especially some of the larger buildings - hint for a future post lol :)

The 4Ground roof tiles will greatly improve the look I think, but that's for another day.

I only wish that the roofs were different, that way they could also be used in a Caribbean setting for, say, Blood and Plunder.

The detailing on the doors is just fantastic - I need to get a little paint on them as it will really make a huge difference.

I was so used to building the stairways from the Old West line that I thought I was doing something wrong with these stairs, but them being offset is all apart of the design look.

Interior-wise 4Ground got it right here, unlike on the Arab buildings, with the stone floors. I also like that they have a door in the floor that could lead to a cellar, a secret passage or some other kind of underground tunnel.

The second floor.

And the third floor.

But with all that, my biggest accomplishment since last I posted was getting completely re-organized up in the studio. And I definitely mean completely. I hit every corner, box, and shelf.

I bought 4 new shelving units (because of the ceiling height of the studio actually it gave me 5 shelves) to hold all my terrain so it no longer had to be packed to the side in boxes. Unfortunately the only place to set the shelves was along the wall in front of the two windows. I'm probably going to have to cover the windows completely as I'm afraid the sun will damage the paint on the buildings.

I also used some shelves to put a lot of my supplies and materials for building onto. Getting myself organized with these kinds of supplies has been something that has been pushed to the side for way too long now.

I got the desk completely reorganized - more plastic nail polish holders were bought to get all the paints, washes, and weathering powders together.

The rules and reference corner got cleaned up as well. Along with all the drawer units with basing and building materials in them - like products are all together in the same drawers now.

The new 4Ground "To Be Built" pile - though the entire right stack is all mall kits.

Hopefully getting organized will help productivity... hopefully, but I'm not holding my breath :)

The only "unsuccessful" Kickstarter I backed arrived last week. I say unsuccessful only because it didn't fund on KS, but these guys still made the game and have done a much better job getting pledges completed than a large majority of the other KS's I backed.

This really looks like it'll be a lot of fun and will hopefully capture that feel of the chariot race from Ben Hur - who knows, maybe a 15mm Circus Maximus could be built and chariot models used with these rules to really make the game pop!

A bit of a trip down memory lane here - while cleaning I found my original D&D dice - they have to be close to 35 years old now. What a neat find that was.

Look at the edges of that D20! She's seen some action for sure.

Several years ago, just for the sake of a bit of nostalgia, I re-bought some of the original Dungeons and Dragons basic books and modules I had a kid. It was a lot of fun to look through them again (and quick side note, to see how incredibly terrible the writing is in the red books, wow!) and to remember how wrong we were playing the game, but none the less how much fun it was.

Even back then I was much more interested in coming up with ideas and running a game than actually playing, and his particular module, Master of the Desert Nomads, was my magnum opus lol! This was the one adventure that I can still remember key sequences and it's been close to 30 years since I ran it.

It was also one of those classic D&D sessions that went almost a full 24 hours. It's crazy to think back at it now. The Evil Abbey, as shown above, was the big climax to the adventure where the monks that lived there turned into creatures when night fell. It had every element of a movie going on - which is probably why I was immediately drawn to running this adventure and tweaking it to make it my own. It was hands down the most fun I'd ever had with Dungeons & Dragons.

I even had this really ambitious idea of creating a comic book that re-told the entire story of the adventure. Here is one drawing I found in an old sketch pad.

Which brings me to Critical Role on Geek & Sundry - I stumbled across this channel about a month ago and have been absolutely blown away by it. I can't recommend this enough if you are interested in D&D - and perfect to have on in the background while painting or building. And of course it makes me want to try to run a  D&D game again. But I know full well that what I hope would be something like Critical Role, what actually would happen would be something like an episode of Parks and Recreation lol!

If you've actually made it all the way to the bottom, thanks a lot - I know that was a whole lot to throw out in one post.

Until next time, thanks for looking!


  1. Hi Ivor - the 4 Ground adobe houses look good but I agree it's wierd they didn't do the interior floors well at all.
    The room is looking very organised, just wish I had that sort of space, are you not worried about dust on the terrain leaving it out in the open?
    Yours is the 2nd painting desk I've seen in the last two days that I would swop for my box of paints:-)

    1. Thanks John! Really chuffed with the end results of the re-organization. I'm not too worried about the dust, I'm just glad everything is out of plastic tubs now - I didn't put it in the post but I had some damage on some kits and one under construction building in particular is bent all out of sorts. Fingers crossed we can minimize damages now.

  2. Great to hear from you Ivor, after telling you to get out on one of the horse's I was starting to fear the worse : )

    I won't go as far as to say you didn't get much done hobby wise as reorganising is always a well worth doing effort, the buildings look good & while I don't use the inside of buildings myself I can understand your disappointment with the one's that have no detail inside.

    The U-boat game reminds me of a game I played before, can't recall the name but was good fun & I'm sure that one will be as well, is the sub compatible to 28mm models ?

    Trips down memory lane are fun when you look back & see how you done things in what can often feel like a different life time : )

    1. Lol! The re-organization had been pushed to the side for way too long, really happy to finally get it completed.

      They list the game at 1/72 scale, so right around 20mm. they have all kinds of 3d interior bits and bobs, as well as figures so while not compatible with 28mm they do have a lot available to make the miniature gamer happy :)

      If only I had the same energy I did back then now - wish I could have bottled that lol!

  3. What a cracking post, Ivor, absolutely chock full of all sorts of interesting things to look at and admire. Thanks for the links - watching the U-boot vid currently, and looking forward to doing some painting listening to your D&D suggestion. Top stuff :-)

    1. Much appreciated! I can't recommend Critical Role enough if you are into D&D - I stumbled across the live stream about a month ago and was up until 2am watching it, it was that good!

  4. Great post. Look at that Studio! Well jealous!

    1. Thanks Simon! If only the ceilings were a bit taller it would be the perfect space :)

  5. I missed out on the Uboot KS by a day! So gutted as it looks amazing...
    The studio is awesome, how lovely to have all that space.

    1. One day, that's disappointing! I stumbled across the BoW video and I think it was down to it's final 48 hours. Probably should have done a separate post on the KS like Joakim does over at The Miniatures Man blog :(

      Thanks! Like I mentioned to Simon, if only the ceilings were a bit taller it'd be perfect - but all things considered very lucky to have the space :)

  6. Good god ... the organization ... that paint table ... my type A anal retentive OCD is tingling! Lol Another KS in ... but I get it ... one guy from our group got sucked into that and it looks really cool. Wanna come over and clean/organize my mess? ;-)

    1. LOL! Yeah, Captain OCD myself - our pantry looks like a grocery store shelf, all the labels facing out, like foods together... drives my wife crazy!

      If it means I get to play on any one of your amazing tables, I'd clean your damn toilets mate!

    2. Me, the Scrubbing Bubbles, and the brushes are on their way!

  7. That's how my Post Office will look once I close it down hopefully, apart from the lovely wooden floor of course. Having all that to do and catch up on would crush me. Now, how do you manage with dust, I have terrible problems all over the house.

    1. Best of luck with your re-organization George, feels good once it's finally completed! As far as the dust, I've never really had too much of an issue with it, so fingers crossed it'll stay that way :)

  8. Truly enjoyable post. Always love seeing other folks' crafting spaces as well as their past projects gathered in one space. A real treat. Thanks for sharing all of this.

    1. Thanks Joe! you've got some really good stuff happening over on your blog too - I admit I'm super jealous of all the gaming you're doing with all those different groups :)