Sunday, January 28, 2018

An Old West Scenario

Getting some plains and woodland Indians finally done over the last couple of weeks, I got the itch to pull out the Old West buildings again - which hadn't seen the light of day for close to two years I think.

My go to rules for the Old West is Dead Man's Hand by Great Escape Games. It's fast and fun and with super easy rules it's really easy to teach. Plus I really love games that have card interrupts :)

I threw this table together really quickly over the weekend in hopes I could get someone over to roll some dice - well, that in fortunately didn't work out. DMH requires at least two players, and I can't see any way to modify things to work as a solo game.

But I do have the Pulp Alley solo deck so I think I'm going to try to write up some leagues for the cowboys and Indians and have a go at a solo game using the PA rules.

I had a narrative ready for DMH which had the Indians attempting to steal horses from the Wells Fargo Express stables.

Stealing at least six horses was going to be the main objective for the Indians, using 1 action would allow you lasso a horse. Two horses would be the max any one Indian could lasso while mounted.

I think this can be a really solid narrative for PA , and it will also allow more objectives throughout the board - specifically the Express building itself and the stagecoach.

Who knows, maybe this can turn into a little 3 or 4 episode campaign - I think the story elements are definitely there for something like that. Perhaps episode 2 has the stagecoach escaping in an attempt to make to the next town.

I kind of went a bit overboard with the scatter terrain around and inside the Express building lol!

This particular WF Express stop has a ton of supplies and why it is a prime target for bandits and Indians.

That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it :) Besides, you can never have enough scatter terrain right?

One thing I did do before setting up the table was to finally add shingles to the stables.

This was one of the very first 4Ground kits I ever built, but never did a post about it.

This was also the very first 4Ground kit that I modified. I completely cut off the front fa├žade. I wanted my stables to be more like a large barn on a farmstead instead of a stables in a town.

Unfortunately I only had the bleached wood shingles - I really think the new wood shingles, which are a nice deep brown color, would have really made the barn pop. Now everything just kind of blends into itself. And honestly, I don't like it at all.

I do have some washes and pigments so maybe I'll see if I can darken the shingles up this week.

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Square Perfect Light Box

As I mentioned in the last post, I was tired attempting to mess about with getting acceptable photos of my models when posting to the blog. I'd thought about building a light box on my own, but as I get older I'm quickly looking for other solutions involving my credit card instead.

So off to Amazon I went. I did my usual search filter of lowest price first and average customer review and found the Square Perfect Light Box for $37.77 and 4 stars on the review. Granted it only had 4 reviews but 3 were 5 star and the 4th was 2, and that was because of the brightness of the lights. And now that I have this set in my possession I have no idea what they are talking about because these lights seem pretty bright and I can't imagine even needing to set up all four. I ordered it Wednesday morning and it incredibly arrived Thursday afternoon!? Gotta love Amazon Prime shipping.

The "box" itself comes packed inside itself - that just sounded strange writing it and even more so reading it lol?! But you get what I mean. And because everything is self contained you can hide it off in a corner or closet when not in use.

It has Velcro strips along the top of the case to keep every thing tidy inside. And as you'll see below the Velcro plays a big part in the overall design and function of the box.

It even has a carrying strap on the case if you need to travel to take photos.

It comes with 4 LED lights that all have adjustable heads and retractable stands, as well as a separate  adjustable camera stand.

I did get a different set of bulbs with one light, the one on the left - I plugged the lights in really quick just to make sure everything worked and it did seemed like the bulb on the left was brighter than the other three. Who knows, maybe that is how they are supposed to be packaged and it's not a mistake.

There is a metal wire that is inside the white walls goes around the entire "box" and Velcro that runs along the length of the left and back bottom sides hold the "box" together.

There is another piece of Velcro that runs along the top of the back where you attach your background fabric - which really almost has a vinyl feel to it more than a fabric feel.

You get four different colors for your backgrounds - white, blue, red, and black - and with the Velcro I mentioned above it makes it really easy to swap out colors. The only thing I'll need to do is run a cool iron over the background fabrics to get those creases out.

When I was checking out through Amazon there was an instant 10% off coupon for the kit, so final price was $34.00. An absolute steal as far as I'm concerned. Everything feels pretty solid and not "cheap" in any way, especially for a box that measures 24"x24"x29". You could probably argue that the metal wire giving shape to the box is a bit on the thin side but really I can't see it taking any type of abuse that could bend it or cause an issue. And the Velcro seems pretty solid too. The only real issue I see from just this initial setting up is storage of the lights, stand, and especially the background fabrics - because you don't want to be pulling out the iron every time you want to photograph something.

So there you have it, hopefully I'll throw a model or two in it tomorrow and give it its first real test :)

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Few More Indians

Well, I've got enough Indians now, 12 foot plus another 3 on horseback, to where I can throw together a little game hopefully over the coming weekend. Granted, most are Woodland Indians, but they will do until I get the Comanche War Party bundle from Warlord Games completed.

These two are the foot versions of Crazy Horse and Gall that came with the mounted versions in the last post, so they are my only two true Plains Indians of the group.

The following figures are from Warlord, and have some really neat poses as well as outfits.

I really like how you've got the Indians wearing coats that more than likely would have been taken off of enemies :)

It had been forever since I based a figure in the "traditional" way, and I have to say I didn't miss it at all lol!

I think I did a pretty awful job on the bases and realize now looking at them that I totally forgot to put a wash on them - that should be an easy fix and will dull down the "dirt" significantly. I had even thought about going clear, but seeing as they more than likely wouldn't be seeing the insides of buildings or be on stone/brick roads, I went old school with basing them.

I've got a real honest to goodness light box on it's way courtesy of an Amazon gift card from the holidays so hopefully that'll improve the 'ol white piece of paper bent slightly behind the figure images I've been posting for the last year or so :) Stay tuned for that.

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Plains Indians

On the very large list of things I have wanted to model, plains Indians have always been near the top.

I've always been drawn to both the war paint of the Indians themselves, but also the paint they would apply to their horses as well.

Naturally, most of those images I've seen come from movies, but I've always been fascinated by it as there is always so much narrative in the painting, especially on the horses because it's a bigger canvas to allow you to tell a story.

My wife has been begging me to get on a horse to ride around the property with her, but the only way I'll do it is if she lets me put some war paint on the horses like here lol!

These three figures are all from Warlord.

They are absolutely fantastic models, though as with every manufacturer who makes horses the tails are incredibly short - sometimes I wonder if sculptors even look at real horses.

Usually it's a movie or documentary that helps get me motivated to finish something, and the new movie "Hostiles" starring Christian Bale was that push that made this happen.

This particular sculpt is just brilliant! When I first saw it I had to have it.

Hanging off the side of the horse shooting a bow, how cool is that?!

I added a bristle from an old paint brush to the bow to make it bit more interesting.

With these models complete, some more on the paint table, and the "Hostiles" movie coming out, maybe that'll push me to crack open the Old West boxes again - which haven't seen daylight in at least a year or more - and have a go at some good old fashioned cowboy and Indian games :)

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 Overview And A Look Ahead To 2018

Another year gone by. It's crazy how fast this one just seemed to fly by, and just based on everything that's happened at the farm and with horses, it's clear that this year will be even crazier as my wife continues to work her way up to the highest level of the USEF.

It's really strange now because for the first time EVER the family is completely separated - Jakob is away at university, Therese is down south, and I'm at the farm. The farm will be empty for the next 3 months and I really hope to get a lot done over that time, though I'm certainly not off to a good start as just this post alone has taken almost two weeks to complete, but that has to do with the fact that we're currently remodeling the master bedroom bathroom.

On to the meat and potatoes - these are by far my favorite posts to do of the entire year because I can see all the goals I had and see how well I failed at completing them :) 2017's goals -

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

Historicon WWII Game and Table - Well, I think I'll give myself a pass on that one. While not strictly WWII, I had the game set in WWII with fictitious characters that are all set in that era with Agent Carter. And incredibly the game and table somehow made it into Wargames Illustrated. Still can't wrap my head around that one. Grade A

Finish the Denison Smocks on my British Airborne - Huh? I have British Airborne... yeah, not so much. Fail. Grade F

Finish my French Partisan Army - I'll give myself a pass. I have some straps, washes to apply, and then basing to complete and then they are done. Grade B

Finish my Pulp Era Figures - This was a huge achievement and where the bulk of last years completed figures came from. I'm not sure of the exact count but it has to be well over 200 to 250. Grade A

Finish my Hollywood DAK - Geez, forgot I still even had these. Epic fail. Grade F

Complete Jonny Quest Pulp Alley Leagues and Run 2 Games - This was fun to finally complete! I think JQ makes for a perfect pulp game and I had a lot of neat story ideas for the Quest gang before I got sidetracked by the Historicon game. Grade A

Complete the Last of the 4Ground Large Building Kits - For the first time ever I had all my big 4Ground kits completed - that was quite a feat really when I think about how many kits I have! The problem now is I went bat shit crazy buying way more kits than I should have this year, including the massive shopping mall - yup, here it is, the giant cat out of the bag, I went all in on the mall range. Even buying multiples of the same kit, the food court for example. So I'm giving myself an A for completing my goal, but a giant what the F were you thinking buying more and especially the mall lol!

2 Blog Posts a Month - Incredibly I put up 53 posts over the course of the year, that's almost 4.5 a month. The big thing for me is quality over quantity, hopefully I walked that line successfully. Grade A

Design a Logo For Studio 13/Saturday Mornings - Nope. Nada. You lose, good day sir. I will say that I did ask a friend who is in graphic design for a living for some ideas and help, but after a "sure" never heard back from him and I completely forgot that this was something I wanted to try to do last year. Grade F

So overall, I think I did pretty good - passing grades on 6 of my 9 goals. Honestly, it was probably my most productive year to date so far :)

Now on to 2018...

Historicon game and table
Build game specific tables with a focus on terrain and building 4Ground purchases
Find more people to game with/try to meet once a month at least
Play more games and write AAR's on them
Continue re-basing to clear bases
Complete the underground facility for the Agent Carter game
2 blog posts a month
Sell rules sets/figures/terrain I know I'm not going to do anything with
Don't buy into any new games - Harry Potter /Gangs of Rome/Batman (Monolith)
Stay off of Kickstarter!

This is the first year I can actually say painting figures does not need to be a major focus. I probably got over 500 figures painted over the course of the year - there were a lot that I didn't bother posting about. Certainly I still have a ton of ACW, AWI, and the Rorke's Drift sets all to be painted, but these aren't any games that are on the immediate radar - and I do have enough of each completed to play skirmish rules sets (Sharpes Practice for instance) if I wanted to.

I really want to focus on terrain this year. Though not 100% committed to Historicon yet, I'm going to be in the mindset that I am and want to focus on and try to make another really fun Hollywood-esque game where even if the game sucks eggs at least it will look good :) And I also really want to try to get together once a month with gaming friends. So those will be my three major focuses.

The other thing I'm really torn about is should I "promote" or try to grow the blog more to get more followers. I don't share posts to Facebook or The Miniatures Page at all. Occasionally I'll link a post to The Lead Adventure Forum or the Pulp Alley forum but that's really it. My Agent Carter AAR's from Historicon got shared on several Facebook pages and that particular post has my highest views of any post I've ever made. And back in October I joined a group focusing on painting survivors and zombies for the entire month and to be able to interact with a whole new group of people was brilliant - I myself followed several new blogs and in turn had several new people follow me because of that. Obviously I don't have any kind of consistent gaming group (yet) so the interactions between people commenting and giving suggestions or critiques on the blog is incredibly helpful for me. What to do...

So until next time, thanks for looking!