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!


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Dead Man's Hand AAR Zorro Saves The Day

I got up to the club again last week for another game of Dead Man's Hand with Jeff. We had such a blast with the last game that I really wanted to play again but try something a little different and something a little more pulpy and swashbuckling, so I brought out my Zorro models from Boot Hill Miniatures and had a bit of a think about a narrative scenario. 

The night before I threw on the old Disney Zorro television show with Guy Williams into the DVD player to get some ideas for what the game could be about and right from the first episode it was easy to come up with Zorro saving someone from being jailed for speaking out on the high taxes. So I painted up this poor fella from Great Escape Games and had him be the objective. Really pleased with how he came out too.

Here are some photos of each side - the good. I thought it would be fun to be able have three of the five be on horseback to start if Jeff wanted. Depending of course on what his plan of entering the town would be.

The bad. Capitan Monastario, with his sword raised would lead the Lancers. I had two mounted options for myself with the Capitan and Sergeant Garcia.

Our favorite pot bellied sergeant, Demetrio Lopez Garcia.

And the ugly. Casualty figures is something that I always have to have whenever I am playing a game. 

I had a bit of fun and just threw some civilian figures around the village to liven it up a bit.

A couple of priests from Warlord Games. If things began to go pear shaped for Zorro I figured these guys could jump in and maybe help turn the tide for the good guys. 

Since his clothes fit the style of the table I had to put Fezzik from 'The Princess Bride' over by the wood piles 😀

Pedro the Peddler at his market stand.

This mariachi  band and dancer are some of my favorite models from the entire Boothill line.

The town elders anxiously awaiting Zorro after ringing the church bell for help. 

While I was in the box that had Fezzik I also grabbed Wesley, aka The Dread Pirate Roberts. Since I was working with another mask hero I thought that I would try a bit of hobby and put a mask on him, as they are terribly comfortable - allegedly anyway.

I used blue painter's tape as I didn't want to mess about with green stuff and all things considered I think it works - and the bonus is I can pop it on and off with no issues.

Here's a overall view of the table.

I had my entire force around the tree by the fountain with only Sgt. Garcia mounted on his horse, but I did have Capitan Monastario's horse tied up close by just in case I needed to get someone else on horseback quickly.

Zorro and two of his Legionnaires entered on horseback through the main gate, while the other two attempted to jump over the walls from the west and the north behind the stable.

The glamour shot before the chaos ensued. Unfortunately, as always happens when I play a game, I got so caught up in actually playing that I forgot to take pictures so the following will be just some of the major highlights, but believe me there was a whole lot more action that happened - we even had a great cinematic moment with a Lancer jumping off his horse and tackling a Legionnaire over by the black stagecoach.

Once Zorro entered the town he immediately jumped off his horse and began to work his way towards poor Juan who was about to be lead away to jail by the Lancers.

Capitan Monastario saw this happening and immediately made his way around to try to stop Zorro. I used several interrupt cards to both give myself an extra movement action as well as bonuses to a pistol shot, which dealt two wound markers to the fox.

Zorro and Capitan Monastario had an epic battle with clashing swords through two full turns.

The fight went back and forth, wounds taken and wounds healed on each activation, with both coming close to being taken out of the game but Zorro prevailed in the end.

This Lancer was my MVP, he took care of one of Zorro's Legionnaires (peaking through the broken wall in the back) with his rifle. He then jumped on that horse behind the blacksmith and quickly made his way to help at the front gate. Knocking one Legionnaire out on the way by jumping on him from the horse (referenced above) and then taking out another Legionnaire with his rifle. 

Meanwhile, Sgt. Garcia on horseback galloped to the front gate to help.

A Legionnaire taking out a Lancer right next to where Capitan Monastario fell.

Over two turns I was able to take out two of Jeff's models here and feeling a bit overconfident I had Sgt. Garcia make his way into combat with Zorro, swords clashing again. 

I was this close to taking Zorro down with Sgt. Garcia with this roll! That 20 was teetering on coming up but fell back and I was left with a 2 and a huge opportunity missed. Of course the next activation Zorro took out Garcia.

It was carnage personified here near the wagon and front gate with a total of six figures being taken out of the game there.

In the end our masked hero in black prevailed and will be back to right injustice again where ever it may end up on my 6x4 tabletop in the future.

Until next time, thanks for looking!