Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Packing Up for Summer Conventions

Headin' for the con!
This summer my son and I will be attending two conventions in the area: Rapier 2014 in Jacksonville next month and Dice Tower Con in July down by Seaworld. This will be our first trip to Rapier, and we're looking forward to it. We're going to bring some games along to Rapier, but we haven't decided what to bring. Right now, I'm leaning toward bringing Star Trek: Fleet Captains for 4-players. I'll probably drag along some of our wargames, maybe the Topside Minis naval counters. We'll have to see how it all unfolds between now and then. More later.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weathering Models and Life

For the past month, I haven't been doing much gaming or model work because it was the end of my teaching semester and my son's last semester in college. Just a tad stressful around the old League HQ! Last week, we had the family in town for his graduation on Saturday. (He graduated summa cum laude.) It was an exciting time, as well as a frazzling time. As I always say, there is a reason why we live 1,000 miles from the closest relative! We were all relieved yesterday when we could finally relax by ourselves, though I still haven't had much sleep for several days. Next stop for the kid is graduate school, so we have a couple more years to go and a couple more years of playing games together.

Fun in the Summer Time!
Last summer, I wound up dubbing it "the summer of collectable card games," finding tons of great deals on CCGs, expanding my collections by leaps and bounds. That summer continued into the fall and then the spring of this year. Now I am neck deep in card games and struggling to store them! Well, this summer I have dubbed it "the summer of miniature games," wanting to make a concerted effort to get back into painting and playing miniature games, and organizing the chaos that has become the League HQ. It's also going to be a summer of playing board wargames with my son, who is really taking to the hobby much more than miniature gaming.

Once again, we'll be at Dice Tower Con this July 4th here in Orlando, though this year I don't plan to pull every muscle in my lower back like I did just before last year's con. (Trying to play games and socialize while popping muscle relaxers and narcotic pain killers does not make for an enjoyable or coherent time. Oy!) I'll be selling some games and other things on the con's Virtual Flea Market. Right now, I know I'll be selling our Castle Ravenloft game, Warhammer Invasion card game, probably some wargame rules (Skako I, Might of Arms, The British are Coming, and Johnny Reb III all in excellent condition), and who knows what else. I usually do cheap cheap prices. I've already bought a couple games!

Whether to Weather: The Weathering Magazine
While stumbling about the web last evening, I came upon The Weathering Magazine from AK Interactive. I really have no idea why it has taken me over a year to discover this magazine, but I am glad that I did. Since my model railroad days, I have always had a fascination with weathering locomotives and freight cars and have wanted to carry that fascination over to my gaming models.

As the magazine's title suggests, each issue is devoted to a single topic on weathering, such as dust or chipping paint, along with many different techniques to achieve those results. The magazine comes in print and digital formats. The print issues sell for $12 here in the USA, which may seem a bit pricey. However, other hobby print magazines cost nearly as much with far less usefulness. (I paid $8 for the latest print issue of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy featuring the "New World" theme and feel I got a teaspoon of value out of that issue compared to the gallons of value from any issue of The Weathering Magazine, if I had purchased the latter's print versions.) Unfortunately, many of the early print issues are out of stock, even though AK has reprinted them.

I took a chance on the digital version of the magazine, which sells for $7 at the official retailer, I tried the issue on Chipping and the issue on Dust, which I feel are two important topics for weathering military vehicles. I passed on the the first issue, Rust. While painting rust is crucial in model railroading, especially on freight cars which can be rolling rust buckets, I tend not to see too many rusty tanks rolling across a battlefield, if you know what I mean.

Chip Shots
I'll give you a quick look at the Chipping issue and then be done. The issue covers many techniques for chipping paint and basically making our models look like pieces of junk that have been banged about by real life instead of sitting in a showroom. I think that any modeler of any skill level can do any of these techniques, other than airbrushing. The issue covers how to chip paint on metal (tanks, artillery, trucks, planes, and construction equipment) as well as on wood (wagons in this case, but the technique can be used for buildings as well.) Here is a brief list of the techniques I saw in the issue on how to make chips, scratches, and streaks: painting using traditional paint brushes, masking fluids, hairspray, salt, sponges, washes, airbrushes, and wire brushes. Sometimes only one technique is used, while other times multiple techniques are used. Each article has ample photographs, unlike many American modeling magazines that skimp on progress photos. They also provide many real life detail photos as well as finished model photos.

Overall, I am pleased with these issues of The Weathering Magazine and will be buying the rest of the series. I'm not sure how long the magazine can continue before running out of new topics, but the topics they have covered so far are excellent. 

I give The Weathering Magazine a 10/10!

Dust issue

Dust issue

Chipping issue

Chipping issue