Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Triumph and the Tragedy

Bruce brought a new game back from Fallcon called the Triumph and the Tragedy. This is a political game (although there are military aspects to it) that allows you to play out the period 1933-1945 in Europe. 

Much of the game is about securing political influence (which was what I concentrated too much effort on) of neutral states in order to increase access to population and resources. These (along with industrial capacity) limit your ability each turn to develop new technology, increase your industrial capacity and buy political and military action cards.

Of course you can also say screw diplomacy and, as Bruce did above, just invade neutrals like Bulgaria! Overall, the mechanics are very simple the but the choices are very, very hard.

In our game, Germany did well diplomatically, but got out built militarily by the Soviets who then rolled west.

This forced me to strip the western approaches and the damned French and British jumped right on and that was all she wrote (in about 1942). I would play things differently next time. And there will definitely be a next time. One of the quirky outcomes of our game was British-Soviet standoff over Berlin (queue Patton). Great three-player game with interesting two-player adaptation.

Up next: More Star Wars!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Tell me where the rubble base is...".

I spent some time this weekend finishing up more of this Star Wars commission and I'm past the half-way point and on schedule.

First up are three pairs of imperial officers and probe droids. Above is a woodlands base and below is a sand base. I'm still fiddling with the lighting (this is better) but the light has colour shifted the tunics a bit towards light grey.

This pair includes a "black" shirted officer (more charcoal). I see (as I look through the snaps) that I have some tidying up of the sides of bases to do.

A pair of scout troopers on different bases (indoor and rubble).

Lord Vader. I fiddled with different finishes (shiny helmet, dull outfit) and light effects (painted sabre white then red to get a luminous effect then hit it was gloss sealer and then did some reflected light washes on his cape).

And Luke. The lighting has overstated the highlighting on his face and washed out the linen colour of his blouse (versus the pure what of his belt).

Up next: I'm off to Bruce's to game on Tuesday then back for more Star Wars. Probably some heroes followed by the last of the creatures. I'm not sure what comes next painting wise--some more WW2?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Star Wars 33mm AT-ST

A few more pieces from this Star Wars commission I'm working on are done. today I finished the AT-ST. It looks very nice, I think. I put in a few stormtroopers for scale. Shame it did not come with a commander peeking out of the top hatch.

The instructions were to give t a rubble base. It is a bit hard t see, but the pipe/tree it has stepped up is tipped up and mostly is free from the surrounding rubble (which is a nice dynamic effect). I need to paint the edge of the base black.

I also resolved my interior basing dilemma and ended up with a plain, slightly charcoal base. This looked better than my efforts to mirror the bases printed on the game tiles.

This moved three more storm troopers and two of the red guys to the finished pile.

Up next: I have Luke, Vader, three imperial officers, three probe droids and two scout troopers wt laer cannons almost finished. Then onto a few good guys and creatures.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

33mm Star Wars Stormtroopers

I don't really paint on commission anymore, but having a go at the Imperial Assault minis was too tempting to pass up. I've got everyone primed and I am starting to do the detail work. 

The stormtroopers are lovely figures but a bit tricky to photograph (hard to get decent contrast because of the white). They look very good in person (moreso than in the pictures). I primed these guys white, sealed them and then washed in some shadow. Then I detailed them and sealed them again. I left these fellows shiny because that is how they looked in the movie stills.

I have three more stormtroopers that I am still basing. I'm not happy with how the "indoor" basing turned out and will need to re-do the bases. I also finished four of the imperial guards (or whatever they are called). Two are awaiting a revision to their interior bases but these two guys are done.

The bad guys are very monochromatic. I tried to replicate the different textures on the costumes with different finishes (heads are shiny, robes are dull) but I'm not sure that this really shows up in the picture.

Up next: Well, more Star Wars is on the way. I have an AT-ST finished and I'm working on Luke, Vader and three imperial officers. It is also club night tonight.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rest of the 1/72-scale British Airborne

I managed to complete the rest of the 1/72-scale British airborne that I picked up from Tim in Saskatoon this summer. First up were three large bases (two six pounders and a command base.

These were painted by Tim; I just rebased them. Tim assures me that the map on the hood of the jeep is a historically accurate map of Arnhem. He is kind of crazy like that!

I then painted up about 70 plastic paratroops as singles to complete the units I started a few weeks ago.

Not sure I quite matched Tim's colour palette (he had some plastics painted that I also based as singles) but close enough for government work. Painted three-tone camo on 70 guys was a bit tedious! Especially since it doesn't show up on the photos very well!

I reversed the mat in my photo booth and this seems to have solved the yellowing issue on my iPhone camera. Not sure the grey with hints if pink is too my taste but it beats having to colour correct every picture.

Up next. I'm working my way through a bunch of 33mm Star Wars figures and will start to post pictures shortly.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wilderness Empires

I backed Worthington Games' Wilderness Empires as a kickstarter and the game finally arrived last week. I was keen to have a FIW game that was less complex than Wilderness Wars and Bruce had already picked up A Few Acres of Snow.

Overall, decent components. One small map error (Indian tribe name) and the game needs to have blocks to represent armies (as having a dozen units on one location makes the map hard to see) but otherwise I'm satisfied. You win by acquiring 10 more victory points than the other guy and the French can also win by denying the British victory at game end.

Movement is point-to-point and the map is worth a careful review before play. There are basically five paths by which the sides can get at each other: One on each flank (although the French have only a single opportunity to attack from Louisburg to Halifax) and three in the middle. Lack of manpower and (as, I found out, reinforcements) means each side has to be cautious in picking battles and developing a strategy.

I played the game solo to get the rules figured out before taking to Bruce's this coming Tuesday. My American plan was to block in the middle, ignore Louisburg and try to flank in the west. This worked poorly! The west is a long slog with few benefits and it put my troops too far from the east-coast cities to help out when the French pushed south.

My French plan was to fortify Louisburg (affects French reinforcements) and then push down the centre--raiding with the Indians if the British didn't hold the west. The French got some lucky rolls and cards.

Cards are interesting. Each side gets five per year and can play four (1 each in spring and fall and two in summer). The cards add colour and unexpected events (including reinforcements) but aren't overwhelming.

There is an interesting dynamic with the cards whereby the turn sequence gives the British the initiative but the opportunity cost of play a card (and then being unable to block French reinforcements) is high. This creates hard choices, at least for the British player!

In the end, poor British choices and bad dice left the colonies unable to stop the French juggernaut from rolling south and bagging the east coast. I suspect this is unlikely to happen with two experienced players but was fun to watch.

Up next: Some more Wilderness Empires, some 1/72-scale British paratroops and a 33mm Star Wars painting commission is underway.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 6 Club Night

We had 18 guys out at the club on Tuesday night, which was pretty impressive. Craig ran a multi-player game of Songs of Blades and Heroes.

Bruce hosted six of us in a game of Maurice. The evil red coats slowly marched across the table towards the noble French.

Then there was a long period of ineffective small arms fire. Meanwhile, over on the French left, the dashing wing commander sought to spoil things and maybe bag a French gun. Despite a dastardly spoiling attack by the Prussian (?) cavalry, the French managed to inflict slightly worse losses than the took and then advanced to the rear to regroup.

By that point, the British had decided they could not amass enough fire on the French and took to the boats.

There was also a playtest of Guildball (above) and an ACW game using the Altar of Freedom rules.

Up next: I'm currently basing more WW2 paratroops and also working my way through the rules of Wildness Empires. I expect a commission of Star Wars figures to appear in my mailbox tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

WW2 British

Apologies for the lack of updates; my home internet service has been really unreliable this week. I have, however, been hard at work!

I continued to pick away at the WW2 British airborne I got from Tim. I rebased the plastic troops he had painted. There are about 30 of them in different poses (above and below). I then started painting the 70 unpainted airborne and they are presently being based.

I also build two Zvezda British two pounders to give the desert rats the illusion of anti-tank capability!

Up next: I will be running a game at the club on Tuesday and after that you'll see the rest of the 1/72-scale airborne. I'm not sure what comes after that. Maybe some Italians. Maybe some vehicles.