Saturday, January 20, 2018

Save These Dates!

    The next two miniature gaming events for the Detroit Metro Area (if there are others in the next three months please advise in the comments) are Spartacon and Flintcon. I have gotten firm dates for both and intend to attend them, please make plans to do the same. These events are hosted by hard-working volunteers and are always fun.

SpartaCon Saturday, 20JAN18 9am-11pm Lansing Center, Lansing Mi. Long known as the "Weather Event" Convention this has been blessed by lovely weather for the last three years. Held in the spacious Lansing Center this has long been the best way to start the new wargaming year.

Flintcon  Saturday 3FEB18 9am-11:30pm Sy. Paul Luther Church and School402 S. Ballenger Hwy Flint MI 48532.  Website  and Facebook and email at

    Both of these events benefit from participation by the entire wargaming community, so please plan to attend and consider running a game, they don't run themselves.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Doors, Hinges and Handles

     Having finally finished the embrasures I decided to indulge my OCD just a bit and add doors in the doorways. Having done so I then found myself compelled to add hinges and handles. A simple process in its own but there are a couple of dozen doors, and it simply wouldn'r do to have some door with handles and others without.

finding myself without any thin balsa (my preferred answer) I decided to  
try slicing blueboard very thinly as a substitute, it seems to have worked

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Now All I Need is Sixty-Six Cannon

     Behold below the Castillo. Now fully embrasured she awaits only a drawbridge to be ready to defend herself against Pirates, Englishmen and the odd Huguenot. Doors, window shutters and other such niceties are still required, of course, but hardly mandatory when facing invaders. Wait, there is the small matter of armaments; I have but six cannon with which to defend this erstwhile mighty fortress, sixty-six embrasures remain empty! Much Sadness.
      Actually, my research shows the the Castillo was never fully armed when under the flag of Spain (and, most likely not while in English or American hands) so the demands do not run anywhere close to a full 72 cannon. I do intend this for other purposes and will need many more cannon before I'm finished so if anybody has a line on cheap cannon (or just cannon barrels) please drop a note in the comments.

with the corner towers in place it does look very much more elegant

Monday, November 13, 2017

Further Progress on the Tedium Front

     Having finally finished the dozens of doors and windows I moved on to the next hugely repetitive job; embrasures. There are dozens of these as well, and they need to be the same size and evenly spaced. So I made myself a little template and started the long process of carving notches in my lovely parapets.

about a third done so far; each bastion has ten embrasures

just to relieve the boredom I decided to fancy-up the main gate a bit

     Next up is the corner towers, then the drawbridge, then doors and window-grates, then a portcullis, then the Ravelin..............

Start 'Em Young!!!

    Rich Uncle Pat (R.U.P. to most folks in the know) reports great success in his efforts to inculcate the Wargaming Spirit in his first born. Dice are used to regulate casualties (although the "red spot means a hit" is sometimes replaced with a more Wellsian approach of flinging the die at the target) and the youngster displays great skill in both methods of casualty randomization.

terrain is kept to a minimum while teaching the rules

casualties tend to be ferocious

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sometimes Things Just Happen Part IV; The Aztec Temple

As if I didn't already have WAY too many distractions......I was at my local Brick&Mortar the other day when Matt (an employee of same) told me that he was working on a Conquistador vs Aztecs game using any of a number of rules sets. The discussion wandered around and it came up that it would be visually striking, as well as an instant stage-setter, to have an iconic step pyramid on the table. I said that it would be dead easy to knock together as they were all right angles and layered like a birthday cake, it is always easy to brag......

.......but this morning I got home from work and couldn't get to sleep. My busy mind needed to occupy itself with busy hands, so off to the workshop I went; and this happened. I will be delivering it to Matt for completion as I have too much work already but it was a happy half-hour and very therapeutic.

the stairs need a little refinement and the whole thing needs a lot of surface decoration, 
but it is a decent start, of course it is hollow inside to allow for "Indiana Jones" style exploring

Friday, November 3, 2017

Making Gun Carriages

     Having built a couple of boxes of the old Wargame Factory War of Spanish Succession cannon kits (currently available from Warlord Games) I found myself in possession of several spare gun barrels. As these were beautifully sculpted cannon barrels it seemed a pity to just throw them away, besides, I needed cannons to mount on the walls of gradually completing Castillo de San Marcos. The biggest stumbling block is that fortresses use cannons on garrison carriages (the classic "ships cannon" on the small heavy mount with little wheels) not the two wheels and a trail style carriages that the model provides. It was clear that I was in for a building project.
       Not fancying the idea of making dozens of tiny symmetrical wheels I cast around for an idea as to what I could use as a substitute. After some thought I hit upon the idea of using small flat beads to replace the wheels. A trip to Hobby Lobby provided both the beads and the bass wood strips to build the rest of the carriages.

the components, 3/32 square basswood strips,  a string of beads and the "donor kits"
wood glue and a fresh blade in the X-Acto knife

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Things I Bought at Pro or Con

     One of the great things about our local gaming conventions is that John Vincent of Quality Miniatures usually shows up with a vast array of reasons for me to spend money. This latest convention was no different, and I walked away quite happy to have added to my collection of 28mm Mediterranean/Caribbean buildings. These were hand-crafted by John himself and are carefully constructed with lift-off roofs and evocative details. Check out his website, if you don't see what you want contact John, he may be able to build exactly what you are looking for (he is talented like that!).

a small mosque or temple

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pro or Con 2017 convention report

     Another Pro or Con convention has come and gone. The games were beautiful, the company convivial and the bargains were available. My game was oversubscribed and I ended up with twice as many players as I had figured on; changes were made and everyone had a good time. Due to the press of action in my game I was not able to take a look at any of the other morning session games (apologies to the many gamemasters that had games with excellent terrain and beautifully presented miniature, I could only glance at your displays).
       After a short break for lunch I was able to photograph some of the afternoon session games. See below.

the first game I was too busy to take any photos, the second game had fewer players
 and they had a handle on the rules which allowed me the luxury of taking pictures
here we see the French on the right and the Dutch on the left

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Test of my Convention Game

the table and troops

     Joe dropped by and we took the opportunity to test out my game scenario that I was planning on using at the Convention on the 28th. The picture above shows the troops and the layout of the table that I am planning on using. I tried to give a good selection of troop types while remaining close to the sort of troops found in the early stages of the Nine Years War. 32 points per force provides plenty of troops for two players on each side. After due consideration of the terrain I conceived a Brilliant Plan, see below  

the Forlorn Hope (being totally B.A. troops) would smash their way into the farmstead and then be able to fire into flanks of the enemy troops while being safe from the powerful Gallopers
the skirmishers would make noise on the left 
while the Shot advanced to flank the farmstead and provide a base of fire

Friday, October 20, 2017

Custom Figures That YOU Design

      Have you ever wished for a truly custom figure to represent your hero in a Role-Playing game. Well, I certainly have. Enter Hero Forge an on-line custom figure design and creation company. They are a bit pricey if you are building an army but if you are looking for the miniature to represent your august personage on the gaming table they can create a truly customized figure and then 3-D print it for you. Check out the Dwarven Warrior that I designed for myself, the whole process took just a couple of minutes.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Castillo Assembled

     To break the tedium of window and door frames I assembled the fortress on my folding banquet tables (the ones in the picture are eight foot long and have a combined width of five feet). It is HUGE ........ I can barely wait to take this to a convention.

     I plan on using Pikeman's Lament for convention play and have already started on a battered wall section and a damaged bastion to make the assault easier.