Thursday, October 20, 2016

Black Powder American Civil War


My local game buddies and I usually get together once a year or so and do really big games of Black Powder American Civil War. This year thought we did not find the time to put together anything, our last game was Flank Attack at Chancellorsville, you can read about the game here on Drunken Samurais blog.

With no games coming up, I decided to organize a large game in February 18, 2017 up at Imperial Outpost Games. There are a couple of main reasons for this, first up, a good friend and fellow Adepticon attendee, Merle D will be coming out to play. Secondly, I usually run Gathering in the Desert in February and I am burned out on organizing this event, so I decided that it would be a great time to do this big game.

The other night Robert and I were talking and he mentioned that we are mid way through October and that we need to get going on this ACW game in February. It dawned on me that I still had figure to paint and some terrain I needed to build for the game. So I thought I might as well get started on this project now.

So I drug out all my painted ACW stuff (which is only three small 5 stand regiments) as well as my in assembled Perry Miniatures. here is the first regiment assembled last night.

This is a larger unit making up seven stands all out of the Perry Confederate box. They assembled rather quickly and so I figured I would add another regiment as well.

This regiment is from the first ACW Perry box which allows you to paint them up as either Union or Confederates. I did add a Sash and Saber banner bearer as well as a Old Glory Second Edition commander to the group.

Tonight I hope to get at least two more regiments assembled as well as prepping the Old Glory ACW set of Wounded and Dying figures. I will use these for casualty markers besides my units when they suffer hits.

So stay tuned for more ACW Black Powder updates.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Band of Painters October Submission


Another month down on our little Band of Painters Challenge and I decided to take the easy route this time and work on the Panzer IV X tank that came in the starter set. This tank comes in at 230 points as a Regular crew and I paid +10 for armored side skirts, so total is 240 points.

Panzer IV X for Konfilkt 47
 The Panzer IV X kit is just a plain old plastic Warlord Panzer IV kit (it is a complete tank kit) as well as a resin turret-mounted Scherefeld Projektor which is cast up rather nicely with minor flash or issues.

Construction of the Warlord kit is pretty straight forward with an exploded diagram on the starter box. As a side note, there are no instructions on how to assemble the turret, but having put together many tank models in various scales, it was pretty easy to assemble it without instructions. Also this kit went together faster than a standard Rubicon Panzer IV, that's just an FYI.

Panzer IV X in Ambush scheme

I decided to paint up this vehicle up in the Ambush camo scheme like I did for the walker I did last month. I figured the Germans would use this on all of their vehicles in 1947 and hey, its a Sci Fi thing and alternate WW2 thing now!

Panzer IV X searching for a target!
So there you go, another installment of Band of Painters completed, next up will be a few German Heavy Infantry in Heavy armor.


Friday, October 07, 2016

Love/Hate Saga Relationship


Been doing a lot of thinking about Gripping Beasts Saga game of late and I have been trying to figure out why I feel the way I do about it. Now I will have to give credit to Robert over at Drunken Samurai Painting Blog he is having the same thoughts but for Bolt Action.

I have been playing Saga for a few years now, but have not been to serious about it. Yeah I do have three armies now, but I have sort of been flirting with the game for years. I don't hate the game, but don't seem to love the game either, it is just there in the middle. That's why I have been thinking about it a lot, why have I not moved it into the Love this game category.

As most readers of this blog know, I love skirmish games of all types, heck you don't have to look to hard to figure that out. Also readers will know that I absolutely love GW's Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, which to me was the best skirmish game out there. I also love anything that deals with the Dark Age period, my first Warhammer Ancient Battle army was an Orkney Isle Viking army. So when Saga came out, I saw it as a mix of my two loves, Skirmish and Dark Age period. But for some reason I kept Saga at arms distance. I remember seeing an article in Wargames Illustrated showcasing Saga and I remember being turned off by the this new dice mechanic for activating units and abilities.

I eventually caved in and started playing Saga using my Vikings from WAB. A few of the other guys I game with picked up the game and we started playing, but once again the game was just there in the background for me. Perhaps it was the fact that I was using models that I painted for another system or it was the fact that I was struggling to understand just how to use the battle board and the rules. Not sure why I was having issues with it, was pretty simple.

Another thing that most readers will pick up on is that I like to organize events and with that I build a ton of terrain for said events. Just look back at all the tables of terrain I built for Lord of the Rings, most which I still have. When it came to terrain for Saga, it was easy to re use LotR terrain. I did pick up a few buildings from 4Ground for Saga, but nothing much. So once again, I had terrain for Saga but still was not feeling it.

Maybe it was the fact that there were no events for Saga going on locally. When I last attended Adepticon a few years ago, they had gotten the Gripping Beast Grand Melee for the US. I happened to be in the same room as this event and was blown away by what my friend Eric Hagen had done for terrain. Also the format looked awesome for the event, but unfortunately I had other commitments for Adepticon and could not play in it. Then I found out that Eric and his crew run an event called Saga Storm, basically a small Saga event held outside somewhere up in the Frozen North!

So here were two awesome looking Saga events that were run very well and it spoke to me inside that I should do something for Saga locally, because as people know, I like to organize stuff! So with the help of Mike, we organized a "Non" event for Saga called Ragnarok back in 2015. We had support from Gripping Beast and had about 8 players. Everyone had a great time playing in this "Non" event. But I was feeling burned out on running events, so I did not really push doing something with Saga. I still had that non committal feeling about the game.

So, after thinking about all of the above items mentioned, I think I finely figured out what is wrong with Saga, it is me! It would seem that I have been the biggest reason why I was wanting to think there was something wrong with the game. I was letting past experiences cloud my judgement of this very cool and popular game. I even know the point when I finally figured out it was me, last Sunday when Robert and I got in a game. It was a very close, challenging game and after Robert packed up and left, I had this lightning bolt of a realization that I do love this game! I have been thinking about this all week and my mind has been trying to tell me differently, but I think I fully have embraced Saga.

So what does this epiphany mean for me? Well it means that I will be working on a few new armies, building a few new terrain pieces and it may, that's a big may, mean I will run another Ragnarok event in the near future, we shall see. But it has been eye opening to me to fully come to terms with this game and realize that I was the one in the way of it. Self realization is an important thing in life, I think it makes you a better person and why not have the self realization in our hobby as well?

So now who wants to play some Saga???


Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Tale of Two Kitties


Last week Robert over at Drunken Samurai Painting Blog, pitched me an idea for a big game that he would like to do sometime next year. It is sort of a top secret game but what I can tell you, it will require a few tanks in 28mm and use the Bolt Action Rules (I'm not going to spill the beans just yet). So with that said, I needed to start picking up a few vehicles. About two months ago, I started selling off all my 1/48th scale armor kits and started to switch over to 1/56th vehicles to be more in line with 28mm figures.

One of the kits I picked up was the Rubicon Models Tiger I Ausf. E tank to replace my Tamyia Tiger. I love the Rubicon kits and have a few now, so it was a no brainer that I would have this kit. In fact I was so excited that once I got home, I built up the kit! Now with this secret project, I knew I was going to need another Tiger, but after talking to Robert, I decided to pick up the plastic Tiger from Warlord Games this past weekend.

So last night I had some free time, so decided to build up the second Tiger to see how it matches up to the Rubicon kit. Now I have to say, if your in the market for a Tiger model, either one of these great kits will work and you will be satisfied with the results. I will be reviewing each kit below, but hear me on this, both kits are very well done and I really can't say which one is better than the other.

So first up is the cost of each kit:

Warlord Games Tiger = $32.00
Rubicon Models Tiger = $37.00

Now you can get both of these kits cheaper if you go online, but these are the suggested prices for both.

Next up is assembly, the Warlord kit gives you two plastic frames, while the Rubicon comes with three plastic frames. Each kit took about 45min to put together. Now the Rubicon kit allows you to build three different versions (early, mid or late variants), while the Warlord only allows you to build a late version. The instructions for both kits are easy to follow and pretty straight forward if you have ever built any sort of model kits in the past.

Now it is worth noting that the Warlord kit comes with zimmerit paste already sculpted on, which the Rubicon has none.

Another thing you get with the Warlord kit is a commander figure, while the Rubicon kit dose not come with a commander. Now this is not a big deal, but it is always nice to have a figure to add to the tank. On the Rubicon kit, the tracks have no real detail to them but the Warlord kit has actual track detail (you can see the track links and such). Once again its a minor issue, but not it was something I noticed when I assembled the kits.

Overall size of the kits is pretty good, but the Rubicon kit is just a hair larger than the Warlord kit. I noticed it with the gun barrel sizes, the Warlord kit is shorter than the Rubicon kit (and we all know barrel length is important, sorry!). But overall you could easily run both of these kits together on the tabletop in the same platoon without seeing an issue.

One other thing I would mention is that the detail on the Rubicon kit seems much crisper than on the Warlord kit. I am talking about the molded on detail like the tow cables and track equipment rear deck detail. Its minor and once the model is painted it will not be an issue. Both kits do come with decals, although the Rubicon decals are the same ones you get with the Panzer III & Panzer IV kits, would have liked to seen a different set of decals. The Warlord model has a generic set of German numbers and cross' which is nice.

So which one is better? Well I don't know, both kits have their strong points and low points, but as I said at the beginning of the post, these are very small issues. With saying that, I like the Rubicon kit much better since I have the option to build three variants as opposed to one version. But I think I will be buying another Warlord kit for our super secret project since the Tigers would have zimmerit on them and I do not want to green stuff up the Rubicon kit. I hope this little review helps you with deciding on a Tiger to purchase. Stay tuned for painting these big kitties.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Operating on the DB&AJ Railroad.


This past weekend we took a trip out to CA for a Dierks Bentley concert at the Irvine Meadows amphitheater on Saturday night. Well I got an email from a friend  Bill Meyer inviting me to play trains on his HO DB&AJ RR, which is a freelance layout depicting the Santa Fe railroad in the Fullerton area mid 1980's. I have been helping and operating on Bills layout since the mid 1990's.

A few U boats that I got to run this weekend.

If I remember correctly, he is now on his 115 operating session and he can host at least 6 operators with one playing as Dispatcher and the rest being either Road Crews or Local Switcher crews. There are about 25+ jobs to run during the session and takes about 3.5 hours for each session. Now I have operated many times in the early days and at that time we did self dispatching, meaning we just ran trains in order on his Job list.

Extra 6378 West bound.
 But now Bill is using a true Dispatcher (who sits in another room all together separate from the layout) and track warrants issued by the dispatcher. Meaning you must use a radio to call the dispatcher to get a track warrant to operate on certain sections of the layout. I will confess, I was rather flustered by operating like this but it does make it feel more like the real thing. With saying that, their is a lot of paperwork to fill out and waiting around to actually operate. At one point I got to sit and wait for a local crew to clear the main for about 15minutes. Like I said, it felt very much like the real thing.

Extra 2866 Sweeper train
 The nice thing about the layout is that Bill is always adding new things for his operators to challenge them. Bill uses a Waybill system that tells you where everything needs to go, this session he has added Blue Flagged cards that say Do not move Unloading, which is something that real railroads use when cars are not meant to be moved, the really railroad would fire you if you moved a blue flagged car, Bill just would make you buy him a Pint afterwards!

He has also added Re Spot cards, which means you can move the car, but have to put it back where it was at. These little things make the layout much more realistic and fun to operate. Most operating layouts do this, it was just new for Bill's layout.

The Colton CA ATSF station I made for Bill years ago, I am the Station Agent!
All in all I had a great time operating on this layout and I am lucky that Bill still invites me whenever I am in the area. For all of my non Model Railroading friends, picture operating a layout like a game, except that the playing pieces are HO cars and locomotives. If you ever get a chance to operate, take the chance and do it.


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Band of Painters Sept Installment completed!


My first installment of the Band of Painters challenge is completed and below you will see the efforts.

248 Points, 1 Spinne Walker and 6 Veterans

Spinne Mechpanzer

6 Veterans, 5 with Assault Rifles!
The hardest part was trying to figure out where to put the decals on the Spinne Walker, I had a tough time trying to figure out placement of the markings, in fact it took me over an hour to decide what insignias to use and where to put them.

So I started assembly on September 1, paint followed on the next few days and they were completed on Sept 5. I like how they turned out and look forward to filling in the ranks in the following months.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Band of Painters Challenge - Month One


Today we start our four-month paint challenge called the Band of Painters which will focus on four of us building new Bolt Action/Konflikt 47 armies. As I mentioned I am building a Late War forces and will be focusing more on the Konflikt 47 army first.

248 points for Konflikt 47

So here is my first batch of 248 points of models:

 1 NCO with Assault Rifle (Veteran)

4 Infantry with Assault Rifles (Veteran)

1 Infantry with Rifle (Veteran)

1 Spinne Light Panzermech  (Veteran) 

That's it, 248 points which will be pretty easy to paint up.