Sunday, February 23, 2014

Victory Point Game's Jena 20

Last night we began playing our first game of Jena 20 in Victory Point Game's Napoleonic 20 series of small, lighter wargames. Each game has about 20 counters. I bought four of them from a fellow on TMP, getting a fantastic deal. I then gave them to Jeremy for Christmas. He is a newbie when it comes to wargaming. With only several pages of rules, which are well-organized and clearly written for the most part, the game is a great introduction to the hobby.It plays smoothly and fast. We like the random event cards as well. If you want to check some good reviews of the game, see the Jena 20 section at Boardgame Geek.

The photo below is where we were at the end of the second turn. I'm playing Prussians, which always seem to be my go-to Napoleonic army. Jeremy is playing French. Right now, not much has happened. Jeremy decided to activate his Imperial Guard, moving them up to hold Jena. A bold move. Hey, why not commit the Guard right away? Of course, he took the Army Morale hit for doing so. But he felt he had enough morale he could burn the point. (He was right.)

Holding Jena with the Guard seemed like a good move, until a couple turns later when I surrounded the city with all my weakling Prussian units and a Reserve unit, and then took the city, pushing back the Guard. Ouch! Sadly, my focus on Jena has left me weaker to the North. We will finish the game later today, starting on the morning of Day 2, but now I wonder if I made a mistake. The French reinforcements are arriving. I will need a bit of luck and will have to recover some Army Morale to win. The player whose Army Morale reaches 0 loses.

Bottom line: If you have an interest in grand scale Napoleonic gaming but don't want to devote a lifetime to learning and playing a wargame, then Jena 20 fits the bill. Once you learn the rules for one Napoleonic 20 game, you learn the basics for all of them. If you're a hardcore wargamer, then it might be a bit too light for your tastes.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

West Wind's GH-47 Nosferatu #2: First Fig Finished

Early last week, the weather broke here in Central Florida long enough to take a couple finished miniatures outside and give them a good spraying of Testors. Below is the finished figure from the second of West Wind's pack of Nosferatu, or would that be Nosferati?

Since we last saw him reaching out to touch someone, I painted his nails, painted the metal things on his outfit (I have no idea what they are!), and highlighted his collar thing using P3 Trollblood Base. All in all, I'm happy how he turned out. I really wanted to paint black nails on him because I felt they really "sold" the miniature. However, I never want to paint nails again! They are quite fiddly.

This figure really needs to be on a base that looks like stone or something because his outfit rides along base edge. I really don't want to bury it in brown ballast and dead grass. I just have to order some green putty/epoxy stuff for the base.

Go ahead. Pull my finger. I dare you!

Darn it! I can't open the crypt door! I just did my nails!

You'd be grumpy too if every time you put down your arm you'd have the other one pop up instead!

And now for something you never get to see--the back side of water! Oh wait. Wrong ride.

Okay, people, who got the sticky blue stuff all over the floor? I just got done cleaning it!

I'm not touching you! Hee hee. I'm not touching you!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Topside Minis Arrive in Port!

On Saturday night, I placed an order with Topside Minis for their WWI Falklands set of 16 British and German ships. This afternoon, the package arrived in perfect shape. As I opened the box, my college-senior son got excited seeing the peel-and-stick counters for ships. He loves all aspects of WWI, so this made his day. (He dislikes WWII, but ironically he likes WWII planes but not WWI biplanes. Go figure!)

Great Quality
Again, the printing on the peel-and-stick paper is excellent, the designs are crisp and highly detailed, and the layout is spot-on. I like the little touches that make each ship counter unique, such as the smoke from the smoke stacks. The bases are laser cut plywood, one for each ship. You can see this in the photos below

Excellent Value
For only $5.60 this set is a great bargain, allowing us to get into naval gaming quickly while looking attractive on the table. The shipping cost as much as the set, but I was not upset. Since it was flat rate shipping, it would have evened out if I had bought more ships or the WWII sets.

Gaming Plans
Rules are still under consideration. Neither of us wants to play anything like Star Fleet Battles on the High Seas! I'd like to tote these miniatures along to Dice Tower Con this summer, and get the attention of some of those board gamers. So rules should be quick-play and easy.

I'm going to use the blue cloth you see in the photos. I got the cloth several years ago at Wal-Mart for only a few dollars. Looks enough like oceans to me.

I would like to paint the sides of the minis because I'm not fond of exposed wood. I have to rummage through my paints to see what would look good. I'm wondering if I should paint the edges and then apply the stickers to the base, or apply the stickers and then paint the sides. Doing the latter would mask the white edges of the paper. We'll see. I'll experiment on my free WWII sample ship, so I don't accidentally ruin the WWI set. This has top priority as I scrounge up some free time.

Topside Minis' Future Plans
After I placed the order, I dropped a quick note to the fellows at Topside Minis, mentioning the blog and how I liked the sample miniature. I also asked them what their future plans were for the WWI line, which is just starting out. Plus, this is the big anniversary year for WWI. John from Topside got back to me right away: "To answer your question, yes we will be expanding this era greatly to the point of the entire Jutland battle. We will build to this slowly by first introducing a few more smaller battles like the Falklands." Looks like good news to me!

The box after opening. The bases are in the paper.

The British ships in the set. The largest ships are 4" long.

The Germans. Largest is 4" long. See how the effects on each are different?

This is how my sample arrived from USPS. The ship remained untouched. Yep, they care alright. :-/

Monday, February 3, 2014

West Wind ZCW-28 The Pinkertons #2

Lately, I've been trying to post photos of complete West Wind packs to give folks an idea what comes in them. I think I mentioned this before, but I sold off many of the mounted versions of these figures. All that remains are the on-foot versions. The mounted versions are fantastic, but I was not going to be able to paint them properly. That's why I sold them years ago on TMP. Sigh. Not one of my best ideas.

Keeping with the blast from the painting box past and the Western theme from the other day, these are the figures from West Wind's "The Pinkerton's #2" pack in their Cowboy Wars line, complete with finished bases. While the pack says Pinkertons, these guys can be anything you like. There really is nothing shouting "Pinkerton" to me here.

Love-Hate Relationship
These are among some of the first figures I completed when I began painting five years ago, when this blog was new. My wife says that often I can be a bit too critical, which is probably the writing teacher coming out in my everyday life, but this pack is really 50-50 for me. The top figure just is not sculpted as well as it could be or should be. For example, the face is a bit deformed, causing me no end of headaches to paint when I was still trying to figure out techniques. The shoes and pants are quite crude. Some other bits that bothered me as well, causing me literally to push the half-painted figure to the back of my painting box for about four years. Then one day last year I forced myself to finish him. In the end, when the figure is on the table and the shooting starts, all those niggling bits fade away when we see the figure from 3'+ away. He winds up looking okay. Not a hero figure, but a henchman that dies quickly in order to make the hero look good. Then he goes back into the box. :-)

Get Shorty!
I really love this figure and enjoy bringing him out of the box. He has been on the blog before. Again, he was an early paint job before I ever tried wet blending or glazing, the latter being my preferred method now when I can pull it off. But he works well on the table. Why the nickname "Shorty"? Well, he is shorter than many of the other West Wind figures I have. So my nickname for him stuck as his permanent name. (There is quite a bit of height variety in the Cowboy Wars figures, but I like that. Looks more real.) Shorty is firing a Colt revolving rifle, which seems to be a favorite Cowboy Wars' weapon even though the weapon was rare. BTW just don't call him Shorty if you want to live.

Watching "The Magnificent Seven" Tonight
At 8pm this evening, my son and I are going to watch "The Magnificent Seven" in glorious High Definition. I keep forgetting that he has never watched this movie, even though his hobby is watching classic movies from the silent era though the early 1960s, though he best loves the 1930s through 1940s. He also collects classic movie memorabilia, like posters and other tidbits, as well as books on the subject. Plus he has a big autograph collection of old movie stars; he writes a nice letter to them and they sign things for him. (He hates how modern movie stars charge big money for autographs, especially those tied to science fiction properties like Star Trek.) He also loves classic black and white foreign films, especially the Japanese director Ozu. Jeremy's walls in his room are literally covered with framed memorabilia and autographs. (We often troll Central Florida thrift shops looking for old DVDs and VHS tapes.)

Anyway, he is not a big fan of Westerns. Can you believe that? But this one intrigues him. So we are going to have a good time watching it together while his mommy is away on business. Of course, I can't help but get ideas for painting figures, building scenery, and planning games as I watch. This is the curse of being a miniature gamer!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

BMM513 Old Glory Army Cowboy Set

Another blast from the painting table past are three of the free monthly Blue Moon 28mm figures that Old Glory used to send to those in their Army discount program. They now sell these figures as a set (BMM513) for those who missed out on them a few years ago. The figures are a bit taller than my West Wind, but no one has noticed that on the table. Even though they have integral bases, I still mounted them on fender washers to blend in with my other figures.

This is my favorite figure in the set. I like the "son, you messed with the bull so now you're going to get the horns" pose.

Pete Yoder from the Amish Cowboys.

No face to paint? I can dig that!