Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Paint What You've Got Finale

First, apologies to Dave Stone. I had intended to have this posted at the end of last month to finish up the Paint What You've Got Challenge, but the house that I live in at the farm has been under renovation since January and the last two weeks of have been nothing short of horrific - with my wife in South Carolina with all the horses and my son away at University, it was felt that with fewer people in the house this would be the best time to tackle such a big project.

This is my kitchen, and because of all the wood floors being refinished (the entire house has wood floors except the bathrooms) I was without a stove for 9 days during that time because it had to be taken out 😡 

It's definitely been an adjustment living here while this is going on - all furniture, pictures, window dressings, everything was removed from each room for new drywall, paint, and lighting.

All part of the challenge of living in a 125+ year old farm house. But it did force me upstairs into the studio (as that thankfully didn't need any work) any time I was home so I did quite a bit of hobbying. 

In addition to completing the castle from my last post I also finally knocked out this massive tile project. This photo was before I started the detail work with vines, cobwebs, overgrowth, etc.

These are from Lunesdargent Workshop and their Paths To El Dorado Kickstarter - I have even more Egyptian themed tiles from Lunesdargent that I need to get to as well but that is way down the line.

These were waiting for me when I returned from South Carolina last year. One giant box weighing close to 50lbs if I remember correctly - they are made from polymer strengthened sandstone which is stronger than hydro-stone but definitely increases the weight.

There has to be well over 400 individual tiles that I hand painted, weathered, and detailed. Talk about absolute madness lol!

To make these tiles a little easier to work with for a game I glued different shaped rooms and hallways onto black foamboard so they could be used in a modular fashion. That way I could essentially build different boards each time they were used.

This is a fantastic little objective marker from Crooked Dice, and perfect for an Indiana Jones adventure.

Long corridors like this create fun possibilities for all kinds of neat traps.

All the extra details really give the tiles a real pulpy type of feel that I was after.

Really pleased with the end results, but now because of both the weight and odd shapes of the rooms and corridors the real challenge is going to be how to safely and securely store them?

I also completed some Perry Union horse holders that I've had for probably seven years now - I have since fixed that rifle 🤦‍♂️ I can't believe I forgot to paint that before I took the picture.

These are perfect for deployment points for Sharp Practice, and will work for marking dismounted cavalry when we get to them. I'm currently working on the Confederate horse holder vignette right now.

I also finished up another group of Confederate sharp shooters.

I know Old Gory gets a lot of eye rolls for their sculpts but I do like the character, especially when you compare them to Perry plastics.

And finally I made some covers for all my 4Ground wagons. Why these never came with that option is a real head scratcher to me.

I made them out of tissues and Mod Podge and am super chuffed with the results.

Can't have a Civil War game without some covered wagons and that was a little project that was long overdue to be completed.

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sharp Practice ACW

In my ongoing quest to continually start new projects while not completing old ones I got a bit of the American Civil War bug again. I've been having so much fun with club mate Jeff playing skirmish games that we thought why not give Sharp Practice a go?

We talked about some different ideas and what we would need to just play a small sided game and I came up with a quick table design - now if you want to see some real epic scale 28mm ACW gaming check out my brother from another mother Jay White's incredible ACW games here. It's jaw dropping stuff and this is just one of many museum quality games - do yourself a favor and hit his follow button, you won't be disappointed!

Despite much unpainted ACW lead filling quite a large box I still had a full force of Confederates ready to go - though some re-basing needs to be done as some movement trays are going to be in order for line troops.

I also had enough Union forces as well for the game but absent mindedly left that box at home the day we played our test game - so you will see some Old Glory Confederates standing in for some Union forces in some photos, doh! 

And speak of the devil, a unit of Confederates posing as Yankees. 

Jeff has been absolutely blasting through Union figures this past week though so you won't ever see that kind of thing in the future lol.

The Union forces coming in from behind the barn.

I've heard nothing but great things about Sharp Practice and the fact that it's random activation and really narrative driven immediately drove me to buy the rules set some time ago.

And they didn't disappoint! The activation sequence and the Tiffin card really make for an incredibly unique gaming experience. And honestly I'm having so much fun with games that have a unique activation I'm not sure I ever want to go back to a classic "you go I go" game again.

As mentioned above, due to the uniqueness of the activations my general and top leader (leader 1 in regards to the cards) didn't even make it out onto the table until turn 3. It was mad, but it really made the game even more fun and cinematic as I was asking the question of "what could be delaying General Laughton"?

Granted, this was our first go at the game and admittedly I didn't do my share on reading the rule book ahead of time (though I did watch several videos on YouTube) so mistakes were made and flipping through the book was necessary but honestly we both had an absolute blast playing.

This was a fun sequence as Jeff tried to get his unit of skirmishers around and into the barn, but my skirmishers had other ideas and just threw a ton of lead onto those poor fellas. 

The "shock" mechanic works really well in my opinion and adds a lot to the game - my skirmishers taking aim at the Union forces by the barn.

I'm going to start work soon on the 43rd Battalion Virginia cavalry, better known as Mosby's Rangers. I think this will be a really fun unit to play for ACW Sharp Practice as the mixed column list really suits my play style - plus I'll get to have some horses on the table.

I've always been fascinated by cavalry and despite JEB Stuart getting most of the notoriety I think Mosby and his unit were much more interesting. So we'll see what the future holds for actually getting Mosby on the tabletop.

Finally, thanks to new follower Matt Williamson. Really appreciate you hitting the follow button 😀

Until next time, which will probably be another Sharp Practice game, thanks for looking!


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Paint What You've Got Update

Despite the brick wall I've hit regarding my original plan of completing the MV Australis I have been doing quite a lot on other projects and getting them completed, which I couldn't be more pleased with.

The biggest project that I've completed was this Hudson and Allen castle - 12 full pieces. I picked up several job lots on Ebay last year while I was in South Carolina and they have sat unpainted since.

My original plan was to build something ala the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie where the fort was perched atop a cliff for Historicon last year, which of course never happened.

I was playing around with quite a big idea as you can see by these early idea photos. Always the visual presentation first and foremost at Back to the Tabletop.

I wanted different heights for the walls to give it some variety visually, and this will definitely be something I will do with the castle in whatever capacity it is used in the future.

Anyway, back to what was actually completed and not pipe dreams lol. Here's how the all the castle pieces come, with an initial light gray prime.

I put a black prime put on all the pieces.

Then a dark gray drybrush, and light concrete colour drybrush.

Details with some washes to create moss like effects. 

Though I do think I'll actually put a bit of flock or maybe ivy in some places just to enhance that look a bit more.

Those with a keen eye will notice that I still need to track down a gate to complete the overall set, doh! But regardless I have always wanted to have a castle ever since the Dungeons & Dragons days of my youth and now I do.

I've also been blasting through a lot of 4Ground kits.

When I won that contest from 4Ground a few months ago I used the gift certificate I received to pick up several 15mm kits.

The idea was for a possible tank game in the future as I have lots of 15mm Flames of War tanks sitting that I think would be fun to try to get on the table with maybe What a Tanker by Too Fat Lardies. 

This was a really neat farm complex. 

Why this was never done in 28mm is honestly a real head scratcher to me.

I've built so much 28mm stuff that building the 15mm kits went incredibly fast.

There isn't nearly as much detail on interiors, windows, and doors so I'm not quite sure what I will do to add and enhance the look of these buildings like I do with all the 28mm ones. Roof shingles and tiles are definitely something I need to sort out.

And none of the doors open and close so you have to make a decision on which you want and glue away.

I also built up this stagecoach.  

But decided that I didn't want it to be red so out came the black paint. I think it looks much better black.

I also finished this prison wagon.  This was going to originally be used in the Zorro scenario I made up a few weeks ago. 

The last thing I built was this neat white barn.

Jeff and I got a bit of the ACW bug and wanted to give Sharp Practice a go so I thought this would be a perfect addition to the table.

I really like the roofing material 4Ground have used here, but I'm not sure I'm sold on the weathered effect from the laser "burn" on the outer walls. I think that this is something that will be addressed in the future.

A really nice and big hay loft inside.

I think I will go in and do some detail work on the interior of the barn in the future as well, but she's good to go to hit the table now which is always the goal.

And the last thing I've been plowing through is re-doing all of my tree plates. Something that always bothers me is how when you use store bought trees is that they are all the same height.

So I went back and added some wood dowels randomly to the trunks of the trees to make them a bit taller and I really think it improves the look.

The other thing I did to make the plates easier to play with on the table was to add magnets to each tree.

And of course on the actual plate. When models move into cover in the trees this will make that much easier to manage.

Lots of bits and bobs finished to 100% so a big win for me overall.

Until next time, when the results of that ACW bug mentioned above actually made it to the tabletop for a game of Sharp Practice, thanks for looking!