Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 In Review

In 2014, I basically stepped away from the hobby to focus on my personal life and for some reason I ended up deleting my old blog “Close the Ranks” (and about 3 years of work).  Not sure why when I reflect on it now, but when 2015 started I resolved to start a new blog and track my hobby progress.  It’s been worth it.  Not only do I feel like I’ve reconnected with internet "friends", but also discovered some new people to follow and it's fun seeing their projects develop as well.  We have a lot of wonderfully talented people in our hobby!

Blogging takes some effort but one of the benefits is at the end of the year you can flip back through your entries and see what all you’ve accomplished.  I must say I was really surprised at what I was able to complete this year.  Here’s the stats…

WWII (15mm)
121 Soviet Troops
51 Fallshirmjager
4 AT Guns
1 Russian Church
1 Russian Log House

Mexican Revolutions (28mm)
41 Rebel Troops
20 Federal Troops
1 Field Gun
1 Mexican Church
1 Train Station
1 Stucco Stables
Assortment of Mexico terrain (railroad tracks, telephone/telegraph poles, cacti, hills, etc…)

Sci-Fi (15mm)
66 Figures (humans and aliens)

Vietnam (15mm)
14 Viet Cong

Random Stuff
2 Dark Age Scots
1 Fantasy Adventurer
4 Vietnam Era X-Men

Commissions (not shown on my blog)
5 15mm Sci-Fi Cars
12 15mm Sci-Fi figures

So, if I pushed all the calculator buttons in the right order that’s 342 figures and 5 buildings.  I’m quite happy with these totals and pretty pleased with how 2015 went on the hobby side!

Now it’s time to focus on 2016.  I have to sit down and determine what projects/goals I want to accomplish and make a plan.  It will be a flexible plan though, because it's SO easy to get distracted by new releases and games.  I think it's really part of the whole hobby!

Thank you all for stopping by my little blog and offering comments and encouragement.  It is very motivating.  I wish you and your families all a blessed and happy new year!

Warm regards,

Sunday, December 27, 2015

SAGA Scots

Today's post is just a random bit of painting from the lead pile.  One of my Christmas presents was some really nice Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes.  Maybe normal for some of you, but really fancy stuff to me.  I generally buy the cheap old pack of brushes from the craft store.  My wife asked me what I was going to paint with them first, and I answered "No idea.  Go pick me something."  So my wife rummaged through the lead pile and returned with two left over Scots from my SAGA army.  And so here we go!

I honestly haven't played SAGA in a long time.  I was playing with an fairly active group when I first started it, but some of the folks got just a little too competitive for my taste.  So I ended up just shelving my army and it's been collecting dust ever since then.  After painting these two figures it makes me want to dust them off and get them on the table.

Here's the two new additions...

Next post we'll be going from the Dark Ages to the Ion Age.  Have a good week friends!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cheap Paint Rack

Hey everyone!  Sorry I haven't posted in a bit.  Life has been interfering with hobby time because of the holidays and everything else.  There are a few items on the workbench in various stages of completion.  Hopefully after Christmas I'll get a chance to wrap some of them up.

On a side note, I got one of my Christmas presents from my wife early.  She wanted to find me a rack for my paint that would help me haul them back and forth to my painting desk and storage closet.  She didn't really like anything she saw online but did find this $10 cosmetic display on Amazon.  I think it's supposed to hold nail polish.  As you can see from the pictures it works perfectly for GW paints.  It will also hold the pigment bottles and washes from Mig Ammo comfortably too.  I liked it a lot so we went ahead and ordered 2 more!!

Hope you all enjoy the holidays and get to spend quality time with family and friends.



Monday, November 30, 2015

The Scavs - Tiny Space Scavengers

Any colony on the fringe of known space will have many things to worry about in their day to day lives.  Of those many dangers, there's one terror that people are only willing to speak of after several rounds of drinks have loosened the tongues and inhibitions.  The Scavs, which also have been called the Takers, the Scavengers, and the Yellow Menace, have no real name.  For they never attempt to communicate, never offer any form of trade, they just move in, kill everyone and then strip equipment bare and then just disappear.  What their purpose is and where they take the stolen resources is a real mystery.  The home planet of the Scavs has yet to be discovered.  The only positive thing going for those colonies on the fringe is that the Scavs have shown no ability to advance technology on their own.  They only seem to advance as they learn from stolen technology, which usually has them technologically a few paces behind their opponents.

These figures are from Khurasan miniatures.  They are the Crustacean Desert Mini-Nomads.  I originally got them because they have some resemblance to Jawas from Star Wars.  I figured it would be fun to have some.  I also have 6 weapons teams that I painted as well.

The Group Shot

Some of the different poses.

Heavy weapon teams.

My wife, ever helpful, offered her critique of my painting once I had finished all but the basing.  She said, "Why did you paint them all poop color?  Are they some kind of Poo Ninjas?"  Well, needless to say whatever response I offered in regards to them be the evil menace of the universe she would simply respond with "Poo Ninjas".  After a while I was having trouble thinking of them as anything but Poo Ninjas myself.  Oh well.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Alien Greys

I wasn't sure how soon I'd be ready to jump back into painting after all the time spent on my last project.  I have to say I was pretty worn out.  Then I saw these Alien Greys I had picked up from 15mm UK (several years ago) and I thought those would be pretty fun!  And I have to say they were.

I like how they have that 1960's Sci-Fi feel to them.  I wanted them to have distinguishing uniforms that identified their jobs (Troopers, Scientists, or Leaders) but still have a unifying element.  So they all got the yellow trim, with the Leaders being blue, the Troopers red, and the science team are all in green.

If you're looking some Grey aliens to take part in your off-world adventures or to land in some field and steal cattle, then I highly recommend these figures.

Also, on a personal note.  I'm really saddened by all the loss of the recent terrorist attacks.  To all my Russian and French internet friends I hope you and all your families are safe and were spared from these tragic events.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Small Town in Mexico

Well, I'm wrapping up this project with a few last minute additions.  We're on the home stretch!

First off I painted up another building for my town.  This is the stucco stable from Old Glory miniatures.  The roof is detachable too.

The next building is the Old Glory Sheriff/Marshall's office.  I'm using it as a railroad station.

Now that's done.  It was time to take a picture of the finished map.  There's bits hanging off or draped awkwardly, but on the game table at the convention it will fit right.

Tomorrow I'll be on the road to the convention.  Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Making Mexico

So, the countdown has really started.  Friday November 5th is when I'll be running the game at the convention.  And thanks to a crazy work schedule I'm a bit behind and having to work like a fiend!!

The table will be 8 ft x 5 ft which was larger than any gaming mats I had.  So the quick solution was to get a piece of felt cloth cut.  I picked a tan color I liked at the fabric store and had it cut 9 ft x 6 ft. so a little would hang over the edge.  Then I picked up 3 different colors of spray paint and went to work.  Here's the results with some of my terrain as I'm figuring out the final layout.

Also to provide a bit of cover and give it the proper feel for this area of Mexico, I needed some mountains.  I obviously don't want anything too large that will get continually bumped into when folks are reaching for figures, but still large enough to provide some cover and fill in some table space.  I bought a piece of insulation sheath and started cutting away.  Besides the pieces you see in the picture above I have these below getting a good coat of white glue.

At the suggestion of my wife I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a couple of packages of cacti.  These unfortunately were not that cheap... oh well!  At least I'll have them now.  Mounted on some larger disks and here's the result.  This actually turned out better than I was expected so I'm really pleased with the results.

And finally I finished my Villista artillery crew.  Unfortunately no one makes a crew for Villistas that I could find in 28mm.  So I took a Knuckleduster figure and cut of his pistol so it would look like he's reaching for the gun.  The other figure is from Gringo 40's.  The 75mm is also from Gringo 40's.  Not my best picture, but at this point the battery was going dead so I'll take it.  :)

Hope you are having a great week friends.  Viva Villa!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dot - Dash - Dot...

Two more weeks until the convention and I'm furiously working away at the finishing touches to my Mexican Revolution game.  First thing was to add a bit of terrain to the board.  It's not really necessary for the game but visually I think it will give some appeal.  I'm talking about telephone/telegraph poles.  I will have these running parallel to my train tracks.  I got these at the hobby store.  They are made for model trains (O-gauge), which as you can see from the picture are a little tall for 28mm figures, but they looked more comparable than the HO scale poles.  I got 10 total, but only painted up 4 for the purpose of this game.

I also needed 6 more Villistas to fill out the ranks of my infantry.  Not wanting to buy another pack of 30 troops from Old Glory I decided to buy 6 old west figures from Knuckleduster.  And 2 troops from Gringo 40's.  I picked two to be my future artillery crew and the rest became line troops.  Here's the one's I picked for that role.  (artillery coming up in the next post!)

The first 5 are from Knuckleduster:

This last one is from Gringo 40's.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Federales Completed

I've been a busy bee this week knocking out 16 more Federales.  This gives me two more 8 man squads.

I'm less than a month from my convention game so I'm trying to get all the painting done quickly.  This will hopefully give me at least a week or two to tweak the scenario and possibly add some last minute troops if they are needed for balance.  This is my first time volunteering to run a game so not sure how it will go, but hopefully every one will enjoy the game.

For my Federal Army I have 4 8-man squads and 1 MG team.  1 Commander, 1 Staff officer, 1 bugler and 1 runner.  They will be greatly outnumbered by the Villistas, but they have the benefit of hard cover while defending.

Here's a picture of them all together...
39 total troops.  Feels good to have them all done.  It will feel even better when I wrap up the Villistas that pretty much double this army in size!

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Las Soldaderas

One of the iconic images of the Mexican Revolution is that of the Soldadera.  Women camp followers that eventually took up arms and joined the fight.  These women joined the fighting for a variety of reasons, for example, some to help protect their sons and husbands, others for revenge, and some just wanted to fight.  Whatever their reasons, they were there in the fighting and it's only fair to add some to my army.  These are the four soldadera figures available from Gringo 40's miniatures.

I forgot to spray these with DullCoat before taking the pictures so they are a little shiny looking.  D'oh!

These were some nice looking miniatures and I was really happy to be able to add some variety to my Villista army.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Federal HQ

This batch of painting adds some headquarters figures to my slowly growing Federal army.  I picked up all these figures from Gringo 40's Mexican Revolution line.  These are a little better sculpted than the Old Glory figures that make up the bulk of my troops, so I planned for them to all be used in more noticeable roles.

The first one is a Federal Police Officer, but I like the looks of this guy to be the Commander of my Federal Army.  So this will be my man in charge.

The next figure is actually a general, but I liked him more as a second in command.  I will be using him as staff officer/executive officer type.
The next two figures will work as "runners" in the game.  Especially with the Bugler I plan to adapt the communications rules to allow him a wider range for conveying orders through bugle calls.  I really liked this figure.

Next batch of figures will also be from Gringo 40's.

See you soon and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Peons

Well, I've made it through another batch of peons.  I have to say that Old Glory is one of the better deals if you are considering the Mexican revolution.  A pack of 30 figures at just over a $1 a figure is a good deal if you don't have to pay a ton of shipping.  I bought 2 packs of the Mexican Irregulars on foot.  However, with only 8 poses I've already gotten bored of painting the same figures over and over!  I think I may mix in a pack of the dismounted Villistas to use as peons if I decide I need more.  Right now I have 41 painted.

Here's the latest editions... some of these look a bit grainy.  I had some issues with my spray primer and the Texas heat.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gifts & Cats

So last week was our wedding anniversary and my wonderful wife surprised me with a couple of books.  I had seen these books in a store one time and drooled over them for a bit and then promptly forgot about them because they were a bit expensive, but mostly because I haven't gotten into Napoleonics.  Well, I think I have an excuse now...

But for now I'm still in the swing of painting up more Villistas for my Mexican Revolution project. Once I finish up with this batch of peons from Old Glory I have some really neat stuff from Gringo 40's I got in the mail last week.  Can't wait to start painting them.  

Helping me with my painting are these two "helpers"... Arwen (brown) and Freya (gray).

You might be thinking... "Wow Rod, that's one really clean painting desk!"  Yes, I agree.  One thing I've learned about kittens is that you have to learn how to keep all your supplies in containers.  I have learned the art of setting up my painting station or putting away my stuff in just a couple of minutes.  You never know when the little helpers will decide to take a nap so you have to get your painting in quick!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mexican Peons

I don't go to a lot of conventions, but at least every year in November I try to attend MilleniumCon hosted by the Lonestar Historical Miniatures Society here in Texas.  The convention takes place in Austin, Texas.  I had a pretty steady attendance record until last year when I was going through a house move and it was just not practical to try and go.  This year I will pick it back up and also have started plans to host a game.  I decided to run one of my growing projects The Mexican Revolution.

I still haven't decided completely on the scenario yet, but I do know I need more troops.  I have enough to make an enjoyable 2 player game, but I would like to target more around 5 players.  Since the Constitutionalistas (1913 revolutionaries) are most likely going to be the attackers I needed more of them.  I'm thinking 3 players are attacking and 2 players are the defenders.  

The bulk of the army were the poor peons who were fighting for the right to have some land to make a living.  So I plan to have 1 larger unit of peons for each Constitutionist player.  The peons mostly wore white, gray, and brown.  Very simple clothing so you won't see a lot of variation in the peons I will be painting.  Here's a batch of 16 I completed over the past couple of weeks.  All these are from Old Glory.

There's more on the painting table.  See you soon.