Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Annual Horse Trip Down South

Apologies right off the bat, as there really isn't any hobby stuff (except for something neat I saw in the Augusta Airport while flying back home Wednesday) in this post, but I get so many family members and friends asking about the yearly trips down to Aiken I thought it would be easier to just write a post about it with some photos, and then direct them here.

But this post also signals my 10 to 12 week focus on nothing but hobby stuff (in between my feed business - pick-ups and deliveries) because with the horses gone and winter in full 'Ice Station Zebra' mode, there isn't a whole lot going on at the farm now.

We left at 6am on Monday morning and arrived in Aiken, South Carolina at Stable View Farms at about 5:30pm. It rained almost the entire trip down. It was only when we reached South Carolina that the rain finally stopped.

This time we only took equipment and supplies down in our trailer, we normally have at least our two horses if not more, and it was packed tight. The first 8 horses, including our two ( the other 6 and the 10 more are shipping out next week are both Therese's client and customer horses) were about an hour and a half behind us in a separate trailer - this gave us time to get in first and prep the barn and stalls upon their arrival. The sun was just going down when we pulled in and the farm looked amazing. Horses all arrived safely around 8pm and we had everything unloaded and set for the night by 10pm.

Tuesday morning we arrived early to Stable View - the cottage my wife has rented out is about 20 minutes away. Stable View is an absolutely amazing place, and Therese is going to be riding and training with members of our US Olympic team, so that's pretty neat.

Here's the barn she has rented, and the areas right around it.

All of our turnouts for the horses are right in front and right beside the barn, so there isn't a long walk to get them out or back in.

All the horses were super excited to get outside into the sun and not have the paddocks be full of mud or snow! It actually got so hot early in the afternoon that we had to take everyone's sheets off - here are our two guys, Captain and Skyfall. Both are Irish sport horses.

Captain Fantastic


And here is my friend Jack. He and I spent every single day together for at least two, up to four, hours since early October. This was the first time since then that he got to go out all by himself without me by his side. Needless to say, he was a happy chappy to be on his own again!

Our little Boston always makes the trip down and stays with Therese - she decided she'd had enough fun for the day and jumped up onto one of the chairs to take a nap.

Here's a quick photo of Boyd Martin on his way to the dressage arena. Boyd is one of Therese's coaches and is actually ranked #4 rider in the world right now. About 6 or 7 years ago he actually stayed at our house for several days. Having an Olympian at your home is kind of a weird thing, but he's a super cool guy and I remember talking quite a bit with him about the Australian Men's National Football (soccer!) squad over that time - as well as kicking the ball around a bit at the farm.

So, hobby stuff! While walking to my gate at Augusta Airport I saw these awesome models of proposal buildings for Augusta - and all I kept thinking the whole time was how I wanted to put some figures on the boards and roll some dice!!! This would be perfect for a spy chase.

And then a building for a zombie last stand scenario.

And then all kinds of possibilities for this monster!

Now to get cracking on that enormous 'to do' list!

As always, thanks for looking!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

4Ground Crates and Boxes

A quick and easy post today... I've had these kits from 4Ground for quite a while now, and one thing I really want to try to do this year, in addition to my 2017 goals, is clean up those little projects that I have scattered all over the studio. First up were these 28mm wild animal crates by 4Ground.

Super easy to put together, no issues whatsoever - takes a little time but really easy.

There are 6 different types of crates, two of each type.

"Congo" is a skirmish adventure game set in 18th/19th century Africa that is getting a lot of attention right now and these would be perfect for that setting. So if you are playing "Congo" grab yourself a set of these crates!

The second pack were just basic 28mm crates and boxes.

Again, super easy to put together.

Just like the wild animal crates you get 6 different types, 2 of each type.

This is a photo of the first 28mm 4Ground crate kit that I completed early last year. 12 much smaller crates. All the same size, no variations like the other two kits.

And some photos of the crates on the table with some figures for height comparisons.

Super happy with how these turned out, and can't recommend these enough! These will definitely add to your table and games and without a doubt worth the money! 36 crates all built and ready for a game. 

My only thought after seeing these photographs is maybe I should have tried to put some animals in the crates or even just glued photos in the windows of animals - I don't know, just thinking out loud :)

I also found a couple of books I'd been looking for for quite a while now while ordering a few items from Noble Knight Games.

These books allowed my imagination to grow and my creativity to flourish. Through these books, and all the supplement books that went with them, I began to build and paint models, but more importantly build terrain and run games. It was without a doubt some of the most fun I've ever had rolling dice.

Even though reading over the actual text in the books again was, well, pretty brutal :) it was really fun to flip through these pages again for the first time in over 30 years. To be able to think back on those early games, the grid paper maps, the Ral Partha figures, the modules, the all night sessions, etc. But more importantly to remember the small group of friends (names and faces I've not thought of for years) who I played with was definitely worth the $10.00 :)

Now, if only I could go back to 30 years ago!

As always, thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Overview and Looking Ahead to 2017

What's neat about the new year is being able to actually go back and see what I wrote a year ago for goals in 2016 - here they are

Goals for 2016

For the love of God, paint some ACW figures!
Get Pulp Alley on the table
2 blog posts a month
Paint British/Zulu figures - just one regiment of each would be great! 
Paint British/Americans from my AWI box - again, just one regiment of each
Run a Dead Man's Hand game at Historicon 2016
6 AAR's - Bolt Action, DMH, X-Wing
Paint a French partisan army for Bolt Action
Sell all my Old Glory Wild West buildings, as well as other unwanted miniatures
Stretch goal is to "borrow" the new video camera (bought to record the horses at shows) and try to do a video AAR :) We'll see...

It's always interesting to see where I did really well and where I just absolutely failed!

ACW figures painted - 0 . It's pretty clear that this is something that is going to have to be commissioned out if it's ever going to happen. I am absolutely fascinated by the American Civil War, and actually have about 200 figures painted and based now, so it's definitely something I want to do (and with guys like Jay White putting on games like this  how can you not be inspired to try and get your own stuff on the table!) but the amount I have unpainted in bags is absolutely staggering.

Pulp Alley - hey, achievement unlocked! PA was a great way to start the year. We actually played more games than I reported on, as well as getting to play PA at Historicon. And I'm still doing little things here and there to get going on it again (Jonny Quest) as well as picking up a lot of the new supplements for it to help with solo games and campaigns going forward. Unfortunately the release of The Chicago Way right after we got going on PA took away from more happening this past year.

The blog - while November only did have one post, there were internet issues at the farm almost the entire month and big picture I did have 29 total posts for the year, so I'm calling another achievement unlocked!

British/Zulu Wars - 0 . Just like the ACW, this is something that I can only see getting completed through a commission; at least in regards to the British. Again, a really fantastic period in history to game and I really want to see it on one of my tables!

AWI figures - 0 . Huh, three periods that I have a ton of figures for that all have either minimal to zero work done on them. Perhaps I'm buying too much? Nah. Commission work again.

Historicon game - it ended up not being Dead Man's Hand, but instead The Chicago Way, and it went absolutely brilliantly. Couldn't have been happier with the table, the games I ran, the fantastic players I had, the great feedback I got regarding the table, and of course actually getting a full page spread of the game in Wargames Illustrated. Major achievement unlocked!!

AAR's - this wasn't as good as it could have been. I think I only 'officially' posted 3, though we did have enough games played to have gotten the goal in - especially with Bolt Action. I'm always just so focused on running the games that I totally forget to take pictures.

French Partisans - while not quite 100% yet, we're at probably 70% complete currently. With a total of close to 30 figures.

Sell through the Old Glory buildings - achievement unlocked! It was good to get all of those on their way to new homes. There was a lot too! I also sold through miscellaneous OG figures and accessories I knew I'd never use as well.

And the stretch goal didn't happen. But, really overall, I'm pretty pleased with what I did accomplish. I definitely strayed from the initial goals (as the ACW, AWI, and Zulu Wars showed) but went in different directions with Bolt Action and also Pulp era games where I feel I accomplished a lot.

So 2017... what's the goals, what's the focus? The biggest thing that will take at least half of the year will be the Historicon table and game. Making it into Wargames Illustrated last year really upped the ante for this year's Historicon. I think a lot of the year will also just be finishing up army's and figures that are not quite 100% complete, as there are quite a lot.

Historicon WWII game and table
Finish the Denison smocks on my British Airborne
Finish my French Partisan army
Finish my Pulp Era figures
Finish my Hollywood DAK - for pulp games
Complete Jonny Quest Pulp Alley leagues and run 2 games
Complete the last of the 4Ground large building kits that need built - 9 kits
2 Blog posts a month
Design a logo for Studio 13/Saturday Mornings

I do have two big goals for 2017 not on the list. The first will be to NOT buy into Firelock Games new Blood and Plunder game (28mm pirate skirmish with ships!!!). Honestly, I don't see how this isn't going to happen, may as well start designing the 'fail' meme now - I totally missed out on the Kickstarter, had my eye on it from the launch, but at that point had never backed a miniatures Kickstarter (I did back both the MST3k and Rifftrax Kickstarters though!) and was much too worried about the possibility of losing money I didn't have at the time. They have pre-orders available currently at discounted pricing and it's taking every ounce of restraint to not max the credit card out!

Also, there is a new Harry Potter miniatures game releasing some time this year by Knight Models - this is another one that scares me because I'm a huge Potter fan. This one could be easily more restrained though simply because Knight Models figures are so ridiculously priced, very GW like. We'll see I guess when the release actually happens.

I'd also like to make a decision about all the 15mm Flames of War models I have. And I have a ton. I haven't touched or thought about FOW in probably 5 or 6 years and the stuff is just sitting in a box. I think it's time for it to go, much like the Old Glory stuff I parted ways with last year.

I'd like to give a huge shout out to all the blogs I follow - each one of you bring something different to the table that helps both inspire and give me ideas for my own games. Thanks so much! I wish you were all closer and that someday I can actually roll some dice with you! And most importantly, I'd also like to thank anyone who actually follows this nonsense or has read anything I've posted. Thank you so much!! It's crazy to me to think I actually have people "following" me!? Madness really.

As always, thanks for looking!