Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rohan Foot Warriors

Over the last few weeks, to take a break from the various terrain and re-basing projects I have been working on, I managed to finish up a small contingent of 12 foot warriors of Rohan. These are from Games Workshop's The Lord of the Rings range, and are decent quality plastic figures. Most plastic figure kits you see these days are multi part kits with swappable arms, heads, weapons, etc... These are not like that. Either because they are some of the earlier plastics from GW, or maybe "just because", these are single piece figures with add on shields. As a result, you get a lot of repetition when building a decent sized force. That's the downside. The upside is that these figures can be cleaned, primed and ready to paint very quickly as opposed to many of the other kits these days where the assembly alone is a major project.

These were painted similarly to the Riders posted back on March 26, 2011, seen here. The only real difference with these is that I cut a few corners to speed the process up, and instead of using an Army Painter dip, I used a water-based brown wash (GW's discontinued "Devlan Mud"). I skimped a little on the highlighting also. I am happy enough with them, and they fit the bill nicely for what I was trying to accomplish - finished!

Next up in the fantasy world, next time I venture in that direction, will be completing a block of Uruk Hai infantry for my Isengard force.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Miniatures Status

It's time, I suppose, for an end-of-April status check of how I have done against my expectations for the  month. With only a couple days to go (and workdays at that), I think I have done fairly well.

Some of what I have been up to...
By way of a status update, I scattered a variety of the things I have been working on on top of a custom terrain board I have made. The terrain board itself is a 2 foot by 3 foot representation of the "Brecourt Manor" scenario (the first scenario) in the Fireball Forward rule book. In the gun emplacements are 4 stands of 15mm WW2 German field artillery, with crew. The 15mm figure stands elsewhere are the troops required for this scenario, as well as the added stands necessary for the second scenario in the book. Hedgerows are pieces from the terrain project described here earlier. Leo and I have been talking about getting together to play some Fireball Forward, and what better way to get the proverbial juices flowing than to have the terrain and troops all ready to go. Leo, if you are out there reading this, I am ready when you are...

Toward the back of the picture are two test pieces I have made of "palm tree" terrain for my Crusades project. They look pretty decent, I just need to make about a dozen more. The pieces are simple balsa wood bases, sanded and painted, with palm trees glued down along with an assortment of Woodland Scenics brand talus (model railroad rocks) and foliage clusters. On the right side is one piece of "farm field" terrain that was a test piece for playing around with artists' modeling compound. I'm not sure what period this kind of thing would be useful for, so I am still tinkering with this.

Along the back edge are five 15mm Italian buildings from the old Architectural Heritage (AH) range, now sold under the JR Miniatures brand (although I understand JR has gone under, and these will be sold elsewhere...). I use these for both Italy and Spain in the Napoleonic era.

In the middle center are three thatch roof and wooden buildings that will serve for 15mm WW2 Eastern Front.

On the left side, back, is one Architectural Heritage building in the 15mm "Prussia" range that can serve for any period from post-medieval through WW2. To the right of that building is a 5mm AH version of the church from the famous Napoleonic battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809. It is a beautiful little model, and goes with the huge amounts of 5mm (tiny) Napoleonics that I have but never ever use...

Lastly, there are four ruined buildings of various types for use in 15mm WW2 games. The front-left one is an old AH casting, but I am not sure who made the other three. The right-most two are by the same manufacturer, and are beautiful multi-part models.

Pictures of my Crusades project re-basing progress will be posted separately, but all things considered, I will end April roughly where I had hoped to be. Re-basing efforts are moving along. I have finished a few projects in the terrain making area, and I have been able to knock out the painting of buildings in a number of eras that have been primed but languishing in the "partially done" box for quite some time. Hopefully I can continue this progress into May and June...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Miniatures Progress Update

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on my hobby goals for the remainder of March and April. To keep myself on track, I'll take a brief look back at what I have accomplished against those goals. All in all I am happy with what I have gotten done, and think I will be where I want to be by April month end.
  • Decisions have been made. 15mm Napoleonics will be based per the Age of Eagles basing scheme. This can also be used for Shako or a number of other rules sets. I do have an interest in skirmish gaming so I will take at least some of the decent-sized armies that I have for Vikings and Saxons and rebase them for skirmish. I can use these figs for Saga, Chris Parker's upcoming skirmish system, or simple home brewed rules I am toying around with. This is a great period for skirmish gaming, I have lots of figures, and I never seem to use them for larger battle games, so a re-purposing may help these figures see the light of day. I have also been wanting to try Saga, but didn't have anything based for it. With only a little work, now I will...
  • Bases for the Napoleonics and the skirmish mounted 25mm figs were ordered from Litko in mid-March, and arrived in the mail today.
  • Crusades 15mm - All figures have been stripped from their old bases. Ten or twelve new bases have been created since the last update, including everything necessary to play the first battle in my campaign, as noted in an earlier post. The units for this game still need cosmetic finishing work, but I could play with them now if I wanted.
  • The large trees have been based and the bases painted. They only need flocking and cosmetic finishing to be complete. They are usable now.
  • The hedge/hedgerow project is complete. I now have approximately 22 linear feet of hedgerow.
Still to be completed (or substantial progress made) in April:
  • Make a final decision on what to send to Sri Lanka for painting and get the order underway.
  • Lots of bases to "green flock".
  • Crusades project progress - more units to be completed...
  • Buildings to paint.
  • Flag Dude flags to order.
I also need to begin thinking about May/June goals.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Play Ball!

The Phillies 2013 season begins tonight in Atlanta against the Braves, and there is something very special to me about the start of a baseball season. I love my Flyers, I enjoy watching the Eagles (although that organization certainly doesn't make it easy at times), but there is just something different about baseball. Football games have an intensity about them due to the limited number of games in a season, and there is a ferocious elegance to hockey, but baseball is just... baseball. And at the end of  opening day, every fan has the chance to have their team at 1-0, and tied for first place. Each season starts with the promise of what might be if everything breaks just right.

As hokey as the movie Field of Dreams was in many places (ok, most places), there was a lot of truth in James Earl Jones' monologue about the meaning of baseball. Baseball's opening day is Spring. Baseball is Summer. Baseball is something to have on in the background that you can half pay attention to, but keeps you company as you do something else. Baseball is second guessing the manager. About lineup choices, about pinch hitters, about bunting and hit and runs, about pitching changes. Baseball is "what if's" and "if only's". Baseball is the promise that finally, this could be the year...

As much as anything else for me though, baseball is remembering my father. The single most indelible image I have of Dad is him out in the yard on a hot summer day, on his hands and knees, working on the flower beds. Weeding. Meticulously raking out the beds. An old radio is propped on a folding chair so that Dad can listen to the Sunday afternoon ball game. Harry Kalas does the play by play and Ritchie "Whitey" Ashburn provides commentary.

As another opening day rolls around, I can't help but to think of Dad, getting this year's tomato seeds going and waiting for Mike Schmidt to strike out with the bases loaded and the game on the line. But time marches on and things change. I believe that somewhere out there Dad is getting the tomato seeds going. And waiting for Ryan Howard to strike out with the bases loaded and the game on the line...