Wednesday, July 23, 2014

VBCW Soldiers, Civilians, and Scenic Effects

On Monday I received a small order from Recreational Conflicts, a US manufacturer and distributor, of some civilians and scenic effects.  I thought that the unpainted pictures might be interesting.  As usual, please click on the images to get a larger picture.

The six civilians I received are made by Ainsty and Lead Bones, the manufacturing arm of Recreational Conflicts.  First the two Ainsty castings, from the AGGRO line, are pack #AGG104, St. Johns Ambulance or Traffic Wardens.  I'm going to use them as a crew for my Rolls Royce ambulance that I've had for a while.  Although the female figure is in pants, that doesn't bother me as I suspect she would be a "rough and tumble" sort of woman to join the Royalist ambulance corps.


The four Lead Bones castings are next.  They are a set of four clerks although I will only use two (right pair) as shop keepers.  The other two will become a town leader (left center) in his smoking jacket (maybe the mayor) and a nurse (far left) at the local clinic.


The scenic effects are two of Ainsty's trade goods packets.  The first consists of five boxes of rifles, three with separate tops and two closed.  They'll be used as objective markers in future games.  Our friends Maude and Charlotta give some sense of scale to these boxes.



The other packet consists of four piles of mixed trade goods with Maude and Charlotta giving a sense of scale.  Again, these will become objective markers in future games.  Ainsty has many other sets of trade goods, almost all of which would fit into a VBCW game, as well as Colonial and Pulp games.



I'm excited about these and look forward to getting them painted and available for use.

Last month at our regional Bayou Wars convention, I was able to buy two packs of WW2 British soldiers from my friend Rudy of Time Portal Hobbies.  The first is a three man 3-inch mortar squad from Warlord Games.  They come with separate heads.  The mortar has a tube, support legs, and baseplate while the crew consists of a gunner (right), loader (left), and shell preparer (center).  This mortar team will tend to offset the naval gun that the Harwich Maritime Defence Force has on the Anglican League side.


And the second is a two man sniper team from Great Escape Games.  Although my set has a kneeling spotter rather than the standing one illustrated, I think the kneeling spotter/escort figure looks better.  Now they can both hide amongst the bushes to pot the Anglican leaders.


Both of these packs will join my Royalist 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment.

More later as I get these painted.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Residential Houses - Finished

This past weekend I finally completed the two residential houses that I have been working upon for a couple of weeks.  From previous posts you will recall that these are paper mache "box" houses that I bought on sale at a local Michael's craft store.  Clad with paper brickwork adorned with doors and windows and paper roofing shingles, they are mounted on a 5mm foam core base.

Brick paving was added to the back in the form of a small patio and a walk to the back gate.

Here are the backyard walls with Missus Maude and Charlotta looking at the improvements.

On the fronts, I added iron rail fencing made from plastic sewing mesh that was suitably cut and trimmed and a cobblestone sidewalk.

The rears with all the brick paving in place, plus the walls and the rear cobblestone pathway intersected by the brick alley.

The front fencing has now been painted a gloss black and looks more like the wrought iron it is meant to be.

Grass has been planted in the small front yards and down the sides ...

and in the back yards.  The back yard walls have finally be glued into place.  The two houses are not glued into place but are held fairly securely by the front and rear stoops and the front fences and rear walls.

The final product in a sunny setting atop an old tree stump in my back yard.

And the rear view.
 In addition to finishing the two residential houses, the East Bergholt town hall was secured to its base, also 5mm foam core.

The borders were covered with cobblestone sidewalks.  The town hall still needs its sign over the front door.  The back door may become the town constabulary entrance if I can't find a suitable building for them.


More anon as I still have a fourth "Michael's" building to clad, many more paper buildings to cut out and construct, and some more "wilder" hedges to make, probably using this technique that was posted on The Miniatures Page:  DIY Bocage Hedges .








Friday, July 11, 2014

Residential Street in East Bergholt

I've taken two of my paper mache buildings (see previous post) that are clad in the same type of brick and used them to create a small residential street in my VBCW town of East Bergholt.  They will be mounted on a piece of 5mm foamcore that will front on one of the cobblestone streets of the town.

This shows the front of the lot with the cobblestone sidewalk and short brick paths leading to the front doors.  There will be an iron fence made from plastic sewing mesh along the front and a narrow yard between it and the buildings.  I'll lay a brick alleyway down between the buildings.

Here is the rear view showing the beginning of the brick wall enclosed back yards.  These yards will have brick wall across the rear with a gate.  Inside each yard will be a small brick patio and either a small garden or a landscaped tree, depending on how much room I have inside the walls.

The brick walls and pillars are downloads from Dave Graffam Models paper building web site:  http://www.davesgames.net/catalog-low-walls.htm .  The wall printouts are wrapped around 5mm foamcore and the pillars around balsa wood to provide some stiffening to the paper.  I've used his paper buildings and walls on other VBCW projects and have been satisfied by the relative ease of assembly and the value, especially when you can print as many copies as you need and change the "skin" of the model.  These walls can be printed in red or gray brick or in gray or brown stone and in lengths from 1" up to 6" in 1/2" increments.

More later.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Progress on Paper Mache Houses from Michaels

Back in January 2014, I was lucky to find four large paper mache houses on sale at one of our local Michael's craft stores.  Michaels Houses   Some time after that I discovered a web site with a wealth of building and scenery photographs.  CGTextures   You have to sign up to use the site but it doesn't cost anything.  Check it out and I'm sure you will find many useful images.  Even with the most basic imaging software (paint.net), I was able to add various windows and doors and maneuver bits and pieces around to make the appropriately sized skins.

From that site I was able to construct "skins" for the houses.  A month or so ago I finally started applying the "skins."  This is a report of the progress as of about a week ago.


Here is the roof section of one of the houses with the brick wall skin around the base and the roofing shingle skin being applied.  It was a challenge to work the shingling around the dormer but I had printed enough sections so I could piece it together.  Although I used glue sticks (background) for the main building wall sections, I used white glue for the shingling and the chimney skin.  It seemed to work just as well as the glue sticks.


Here is one of the houses almost completely clad in its "skin."  At the time I took this picture I still had to print some more corner moulding for the upper section.  That has been done and it looks much better.  This building will eventually be my town hall for East Bergholt.  The figure is a 28mm Battle Honours early WW1 British officer who is being used as the lieutenant colonel commanding the Anglican coalition forces in south-west Suffolk in my Very British Civil War universe.


And here is a second building (on left) being clad in its skin.  I cut and moved the wall pieces higher towards the divide between the lower building part and the roof part which, I think, makes the buildings look better.  The piece I trimmed off the top was then glued along the bottom.  This second building and a third similarly clad are being mounted on a piece of foam-core to serve as a small set of apartment buildings for my town.  They will have walled back yards with a brick patio and some flower beds.

The second and third buildings now have their complete "skins" applied.  I still have a fourth one to do which will hopefully happen later this week.  Another progress report will be forthcoming.

Cheers!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Very British Civil War at the Bayou

The game I ran on Saturday morning (June 14) at our regional convention, Bayou Wars, was a scenario from my Very British Civil War "universe."  In that "universe" the Royalist and their British Union of Fascist allies based around Colchester, Essex, are in a constant state of raids and skirmishes against the loose coalition of Anglican forces from Bury St. Edmonds, local defense groups from East Bergholt, and "red" Royal Navy sailors from the Harwich Maritime Defence Force, all in Suffolk.

This particular scenario involved the gathering of supplies from an area of the River Stour valley, including a derailed goods wagon (box car to us Americans) from the London North Eastern Railway.  There was also a farm and a petrol station in the vicinity which must be searched for supplies.

The Royalist/BUF forces consisted of a company of the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment; a company of the BUF Colchester Fencibles, a troop of the Essex Yeomanry (light tankette and two armored scout cars); and  BUF Special Assault Section with an armored truck.

The Anglican Coalition consisted of a company of the Cambridge Fencibles, a company of the American volunteer Liberty Bell Legion, a company of local defense forces, and an Anglican Special Combat Section.  Also aiding the Anglicans was a company of the Harwich Maritime Defence Force with a truck mounted naval cannon.

I used a slight modification of The Sword to Adventure variant of Larry Brom's The Sword and the Flame.

So let the action begin!

The scene of the action with the farm house in the foreground, the derailed goods wagon in the middle ground, and the petrol station in the background.  The Anglican Coalition entered from the left while the Royalists/BUF entered from the right.
The Anglican Coalition commanders - Dave, Chris, Mick, Richard, and Josh.

The Royalists/BUF commanders - Bill, Phil, Mark, and Ken.

Anglican Fencibles and Liberty Bell Legion troops advance towards the farmhouse and goods wagon.

Bill, commanding the regular Royalist infantry, watches as his "red" sailor opponent moves against him.  Bill provided the hedges in the foreground through which the BUF Fencibles are moving.

The Anglican Fencibles and Liberty Bell Legion encounter the BUF Fencibles along the stream.

The regular Royalists move towards the petrol station and the house across the road from it.  A ubiquitous call box sits prominently along the roadside.

And at the same time the "red" sailors (center and right) and part of the LDF (left) advance into the petrol station/house complex.  A cache of petrol barrels can be seen in the right corner of the station lot.

On the right, the Royalist trucks and the BUF Special Assault Section with their armored truck advance to contest the goods wagon and its cargo with the Anglican Special Combat Section and the LDF chaps.

But the BUF didn't do too well as a well aimed Boys anti-tank rifle from the Anglican Special Combat Section set it ablaze.

The final scene of action as the "red" sailors and LDF secure the petrol station and house supplies in the background and the Anglicans and LDF overpower the BUF at the goods wagon, securing those supplies as well.  Only at the farmstead were the Royalists and BUF successful, primarily thanks to Ken's tankette and armored scout cars which were too much for the Cambridge Fencibles one heavy machine gun and rifles.
The game, from my perspective as game master, went well.  All of the participants seemed to be having a good time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bayou Wars 2014

Last weekend (June 13-15) I attended our regional convention, Bayou Wars.  This year it was held at the Magnusson motel in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  The motel has four different rooms that we used and there appeared to be plenty of room for all the games and the tournament.

I ran one game, a Very British Civil War scenario, about which I will shortly post a report.  This post covers the other three games I played:  Racin' and Rubbin' by Bill Majure on Friday night, a WW2 Bolt Action game by Doug Whittenberg on Saturday afternoon, and a Seven Years War Black Powder game by Dwaine Balius on Saturday night.

Racin' and Rubbin'  Bill Majure's NASCAR racing game ("If you ain't rubbin' you ain't racin'!") is an amalgam of three different auto racing games.  It was a blast to play, especially since Jerome and I are NASCAR fans.  He and I each had three cars and we did five "laps" around the Pocono race track.  The rules are still in development so we were play testing as we raced but had fun nevertheless.  Once he gets the game more perfected, Bill has volunteered to come up to Jackson and run it for us.  On Saturday Bill ran another game, this time using a generic super-speedway track (like at Daytona and Talledega).

Bill getting the game set up.

One of my cars, Mark Martin's Number 8 US Army car.

The 17, 88, and 8 cars complete the first lap.  The lead car is already on the back stretch.


The 11 car (leader) spins out in turn 3 bringing on a caution as three of the other cars slow after passing him.  The +1 marker denotes the difficulty of turn 3 at Pocono.

The remaining five cars approach the start line after the caution.  I didn't pit the 17 car, gambling that my tires would last - they didn't.  But I still had the 29 and 8 cars in contention.
After nudging my 29 car aside in turn 3 of the final lap, Dale Earnhart Junior's 88 car beats my Kevin Harvick 29 car to the green flag.  The "Junior Nation" was ecstatic.


With the winner's "garland" around his neck. Jerome (right) and Bill celebrate his victory.

Bolt Action WW2  Doug ran a three-cornered game pitting the Americans, Russians, and Germans against each other, calling it "Patton's Dream and Hitler's Nightmare."  My friend Jay and I and a third player whose name also started with "J" played the Germans and even though only two command guard soldiers and two medics survived we were the winners with four or five victory points against the Americans and Russians three each.   EDIT:  Two pictures added on 06/23/2014.

The little town over which we fought, dominated by the resin church.  Almost all of the rest of the buildings are from 4Ground, with removable roofs and floors.  [Apologies for the "white out" but I was trying to get rid of some joker's very visible big, flabby gut.]

Jay's PzIV slowly moves forward, sniffing out its prey.

Addison (left) and Richard, two of the three American players, contemplate their action as the game starts.
Jay's PzIV uses a Russian squad to grease his treads.  The hotel to the right held the Russian command element and a sniper which belonged to Doug's daughter who had painted all of her Russians.

My command element (officer and two guards) move up to encourage one of my squads to attack the Americans.
Moving up against the church wall, my commander directs what's left of the squad to rally so they can continue to engage the Americans.

Unfortunately the American Sherman picks this time to rumble out and attack my squad.  They take further losses.
But the Sherman exposed its side to Doug's daughter's T-35/85 which again proved the Sherman is a Ronson, lighting the first time it is struck - by an 85mm high velocity armor piercing shell.  You can get a much better look at the magnificent resin church that dominated the town over which we contested.
And as we started to withdraw our paltry remaining figures after loosing two infantry squads and a mortar team, the T-35/85 also showed that the PzIV can be a Ronson also.
The sniper had been trying all game to put a round in my commander's head.  She finally succeeded, leaving us with just the two headquarters guards and the two medics to escape the carnage.
Black Powder Seven Years War  This game was run by my friend Dwaine Balius, pitting Prussians (commanded by another gamer and me) against Austrians and Russians (commanded by Jay, Bill Majure, and a third gamer).  Jay and I have played Black Powder before with Doc Ord, another friend, but none of us really understood the rules.  Dwaine, and Bill, provided a better explanation so we had a more delightful experience this time.  So here are a few pictures of the action.

The opening of the battle with the Prussian right wing (my command) and center facing the Austrians and Russians, respectively.  The cavalry wings are at the top of the picture, with the Prussian cavalry just out of view.

My Prussians advance against the Austrians.

The big cavalry fight on the Prussian left pitted one regiment of Prussian cuirassiers and three of dragoons against Russians and Austrians, a mix of two regiments of cuirassiers, one of horse grenadiers, and one of dragoons.  The Prussian cavalry finally defeated their opponents and were poised to roll up the Russian center (at right in photo) by the end of the game.

Back to my right-wing Prussians as they closed on the Austrians.  Unfortunately my grenadiers (center left) came unglued and scampered away.  But the line infantry held on doggedly and finally defeated the white coats.


So in the three games in which I played, I was on the winning side in two of them as WW2 Germans and SYW Prussians while I came in second in the NASCAR race.  Hmmm, maybe I should stick to playing Germans.

My VBCW game posting will come soon but I spent part of the day playing Germans (and winning again - is this an omen?) in German East Africa in our club game and then visiting my new granddaughter, Serenity (AKA Firefly).  If you are a sci-fi fan you'll get the reference.