Bolt Action – The Rock of Anzio

Posted in Bolt Action on February 17, 2014 by BrentS

Marching_N_Sc
My next major project has been involved in a brand new game for me – Bolt Action by Warlord Games.  I’ve never been much of a history buff so despite many of my gaming friends talking up this game, I wasn’t sure it would be for me.  To be honest, I found the equipment names, formation names, and general feeling of the game to be quite foreign.  However, as most of my friends were starting to migrate to this game and I haven’t been all that impressed with the direction Games Workshop games have been going, I was ready to dive into something new.

So, with the thoughts of Bolt Action and World War II on my mind, I needed to figure out what to do.  I figured the best plan was to embrace the history that I’d never really gotten into.  My Grandfather served in WWII in Italy and I knew he received a Purple Heart but beyond that I didn’t really know much about his military past.  Since I was interested in building a WWII army, why not dig and research his past?  Luckily for me, my aunt had been collecting remnants of his old war journals.  I’ve got over 50 pages of typed text that she’d be transcribing.  It was a fascinating to read and while most of the text was about life around the war there were certainly some passages around the events themselves.

My grandfather, Walter S. Dodson was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 157th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division.  He started his tour of duty in North Africa and was part of the Italian / Sicily campaign.  He was wounded during the last battle of Anzio where some shrapnel caused him to lose an eye.  However, during his time in Italy his platoon saw a lot of combat througout the Italian coastline.  I’ve found some great books on this part of the war.  Its not as glamorized as the landings in Normandy but it was an important part of the Allied War efforts and the units he served in were an important part of liberating Rome.

Enough history… on to the photos!

First up, here’s an image of the infantry patch the 45th Infantry wore on their uniforms.  They were the “Thunderbirds”

45thIBCTSSI

I tried to do the best I could painting this on each of the infantry models.

Here’s 2nd Lt Walter Dodson and an extra man:

BA_2ndLt BA_2ndLt_2

Every Platoon for Bolt Action needs at least two Infantry Squads.  I’ve built four.  Each are lead by an NCO with a Submachine Gun and have a infantry soldier with a Browning Automatic Rifle.  I also have one Infantry squad armed with Anti-tank grendades:

BA_Squad1 BA_Squad2 BA_Squad3 BA_Squad4

I have a number of other specialty troops, including a Sniper Squad, Bazooka Squad, Heavy Machine Gun Crew, and Medium Mortar and (Spotter)

BA_Sniper BA_Bazooka BA_50cal BA_Mortar

Lastly, I’ve got some attachments to the army including an Air Force Forward Observer (and extra man) and a 57mm Anti-Tank Gun and crew:

BA_ForObs BA_57mmAT_1 BA_57mmAT_2

Last thing to show off is my “Pinning Markers”  These were made so that I could spin the dial and set the number of pins from 1 to 9.  I have enough for each unit.

BA_PinMarkers

Sorry for the long time between posts.  I’m looking forward to getting these models into action at the Gathering in the Desert: Operation Scorpion tournament next weekend!

Ancient Civilization Project

Posted in School on February 8, 2013 by BrentS

Giza

In my kids school district, sixth grade is the “Ancient Civilization” project for Social Studies.  This is a several month long project where they have to research a civilization and do any number of special projects that relate to their civilization.  The big project involves building a model representing something from the civilization they are researching…  you can see where this going right?  Well, dad excels in these type of school projects!

My daughter elected to Ancient Egypt for her civilization and she decided she wanted to build a pyramid.  So she enlists my help to work on this project.  We’ve seen all kinds of projects where people will build models from all sorts of homemade items.  The Sugar Cube pyramid is always a favorite.  However, the wargamer in me says we can do better.  What’s better than sugar cubes?  Well, Hirst Arts molds of course!!   I have a bunch of Hirst Arts molds but they were all the castle and fieldstone molds, nothing for the egyptian pyramids.  But that’s where my gamer friends come in.  I’ve got other friends that go all the pyramid molds so we met up and borrowed two of them.

We spent one whole weekend casting the molds – We used some Hydrostone plaster that I purchased years ago.  We had to cast the basic pyramid mold 20 times! Here’s the results of a long weekend of casting blocks.

288

We divided up the building over a few nights, putting the sub-assemblies together and ended up with the finished pyramid.  Complete with a removeable lid and furnished interior!

293

 

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Finally, the model had to get painted.  Using the craft pants from Michaels, it was a quick basecoat and dry-brush.  The sarcophagus was detailed with some gold citadel paints.   We glued a bit of sandbox sand around the MDF board to finish it off.

306

307

All in all this was a fun project for the two of us to work on.  She did almost all of it with a lot of supervision (and some help from dad with the fiddly details during casting).  She is so proud of how great this turned out.

I don’t get time to post on the blog very often but this one was special and worth sharing!

Kicking it!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2013 by BrentS

I know that Kickstarter is nothing new to the Hobby Blog community but I thought I’d do a post about my experiences with Kickstarter since last year.

Zombicide

Zombicide

My first Kickstarter was Zombicide! by Guillotine Games and Cool Mini or Not. One of my hobby friends sent me a random text message about this this cool looking zombie game that has Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory as a miniature. Well, I’ve never been a big “Zombie” guy but I was still intrigued. He sent me the link and that was my first taste of Kickstarter. What a interesting concept… well, I pledged full in on the “Abomination” level which covered the base game and then a host of extra survivor (and ultimately zombie-survivors) models as part of the stretch goals. The game delivered on time and I’ve had a load of fun playing with my son and his friends! I thought to myself, that this kickstarter thing was pretty cool and I really felt like a got a good value for the dollars I committed. We are still expecting the second wave shipment later this year – looking forward to all the new survivors. In the meantime, I’ve been slowly cracking away at painting my zombies. Next time we play a game, I’ll try to break out the camera and get some game shots!

 

Reaper Bones

Well, I really got caught up in the excitment over this Kickstarter. So many models for such a “small” dollar investment. They sucked me in pretty good with all the stretch goals and in the end, I even pledged to get the paints as well. I’ve always been a fan of the reaper paint line and the painting sets offered as part of the kickstarter stretch goals were cheaper than retail so why not… Having said that, my experience with this kickstarter was a bit more dissappointing. We are still waiting for everything I pledged to be delivered. I knew the models weren’t due until later this year but they failed to deliver the paint sets in November as they were orginally promised. Reaper was very up front with this with several email communications – basically they were overwhelmed by the success of their kickstarter and couldn’t deliver on the demand. So I’m still waiting for the paints to be delivered. Oh well, there are lots of goodies coming… though I have no idea what I’m going to do with most of the models.

So that ending 2012 and my Kickstarter pledges. I spent a considerable amount of time watching several other Kickstarters but ultimately held off on pledging.

Now in 2013, I’m getting sucked in again…

Rivet Wars

RivetWarsKick

This is a 2 player game set in a WWI/Steampunk era. The models look like so much fun and the game play looks to be pretty solid. This is another KS from the CMON team so I’m very confident they’ll deliver. The KS is a little over a week old and it is already funded now we just watch it grow as the stretch goals roll on. They are already delivering some pretty cool cameo “Special Edition” miniatures – some of the movie references are beyond me (though Nick Fury was easy to identify). This KS is about to cross the $200K mark. At $225K things will get pretty crazy. I’d encourage anyone reading this blog to check out the Rivet Wars Kickstarter!

 

The Painting Pyramid

Painting Pyramid

The last Kickstarter I’m backing right now has a local connection. Uber painter – James Wappel is running his program to publish a huge series of miniature painting DVDs. James is an amazing artist and his models consistently win prizes in every competition he enters. He played in my Bilbo’s Birthday Bash Tournament this year and ran away with the Best Appearance awards. Anyway, very happy to support a local guy and get some good advice on miniature painting too. Make sure you go check James’s Kickstarter.

 

Wyrd Hobby Services

Finally, not related to Kickstarter but Blog worthy… A good friend of mine has started his own Hobby painting and converting commission business. You should definitely check out his site. He’s one of the best painters and I know and he’d love a chance to work with your models! Go check him out at Wyrd Hobby Services!

Well, that’s all for now… I’ve got a lot fun Hobby things planned for this year and with any luck I’ll actually get some blog posts made…

An Unexpected Return

Posted in The Hobbit on December 3, 2012 by BrentS

Hobbiton-001

 

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea -any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Well , its time to blow the dust off this blog.  While I haven’t been posting on my own blog, I’ve still been quite busy with various hobby projects.  I also check in on some of my favorite blogs (Dave Taylor Miniatures, Cursed Treasures, and Plastic Legions and their respective blog rolls) on a near daily basis.  On some of these websites, I’ve seen the Leiber awards being passed handed out.  Seeing these blogs getting recognition inspired me to try and reenergize my own blog.

 So what to blog about?  Well today, I’m going to weigh in on The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey Strategy Battle Game (whew that’s quite a title).  Anyone who is reading this blog post is probably already very familiar with Games Workshop’s latest version of the Strategy Battle Game.  You are also probably well aware of the consternation over the price increase for the new Hobbit line and how they changed the “model” for the mini-rule book so that it doesn’t contain the all the profiles for the miniatures.  I understand everyone being up in arms over these changes and feeling slighted by Games Workshop.  However, this isn’t another blog where I’m going to rant on Games Workshop.

 Why am I interested in the Hobbit?  Well, I’m interested because I enjoy the game.  I’m interested because I’ve made a lot of friends over the years playing this game.  No one is holding a gun to my head making me buy these new rules or the new rules.  However, I will buy them… because I enjoy the game!  Has GW flipped the model on us?  Absolutely.  Are the miniatures and the rules overpriced?  Absolutely.  Do I want to play this new version of the game?  Absolutely.  Maybe I’m just being “fanboy” here but I’m excited by these new rules.  I’m excited by (some) of the new models.  I’m really excited that for the next three years I’ll have new movies based on the stories of Middle Earth to look forward too. 

 So how am I handling this Unexpected Journey…  I’m buying the Escape from GoblinTown set, the Hardback Rulebook, The Trolls, and the Goblin Town Scenery Kits.

 Escape of Goblin Town, Limited Edition:

EfGT

While the price is high at $125 for the limited edition set, its really a good “value” (rationalizing I know) when comparing the contents to the other releases.  Here’s my break down for the value:

  •  Thorin’s Company (including Bilbo and Gandalf) – 15 plastic hero models.  Compare this to the recently released Mines of Moria Fellowship boxed set (crappy sculpts and all) and this sprue would likely sell for $45
  • 36 MistyMountain Goblines – At retail, these would sell for $70
  • Goblin King and Throne – I figure this would sell individually for at least $25 (compare to the Mordor Troll or Ent plastic kit and its not hard to imagine this being even higher).
  • Goblin Captians (Grinna, the mini dude, and the Scribe) – I assume that a plastic set of three captains would be at least $20 (again probably under estimated)
  • GoblinTown Scenery – Two of the three sprues from the Goblin Town Scenery kit are included in the Boxed Game.  The Scenery kit is 3 Sprues for $60 so I figure the terrain included in the game is worth $40
  • Limited Edition Radagast – I count him as $10 but only because the Escape from GoblinTown will also be sold without this mini for $10 less.
  • The Mini-Rule book – If the hardback rule book is $85 for all the rules, profiles, and “hobby stuff”, I figure the miniature rule book is probably worth about $25

 Adding all this up and the total value of the Boxed Set is probably somewhere north of $230.  I know that I’m just “justifying” things in my mind, but still it feels like a good deal.

 The Hardback rulebook

Hardback

I’m a sucker for rule books and I like having a big beefy tome that I can read at my house.  I love looking at the pretty pictures and getting additional inspiration.  I’m not one that is grossly upset that the profiles for the new Hobbit models are only in the Big Rulebook.  Sure I would have preferred to have them in the mini-rule book too.  However, in reality, even with the One Ring version of the mini-rule book (the one that came with the Mines of Moria) not all of the profiles were included.  What do I want from a mini version of the rule book.  Well I want a small portable copy of the RULES that I can take with me when I go and play games.

 The Trolls

TheTrollsWell I admit, this one was an impulse.  Long time followers of my blog will remember my first foray into the Unexpected Party.  I had acquired a set of stone trolls from an online vendor and used them as part of my display base.  So to me, the Trolls are just an iconic part of story and I had to get them.  Yes they are overpriced but are cheaper than buying three Mordor trolls (for what’s that worth).

 Goblin Town Scenery

GoblinTown

Now were talking… I haven’t talked a big terrain project in a long time.  This Goblin town terrain really got me thinking.  So I’m on a mission to get my hands on as much of this as I can so that I can build a fun GoblinTown game board for use at Adepticon and Bilbo’s Birthday Bash. 

 

Everything else in this release.  Well, I’m just waiting.  I like a lot of the other new models but I don’t feel compelled to buy them.  Maybe someday I’ll do a Hunter Orc army and go out and buy them.  However, for now, I’ll just admire them from afar. 

One last thought regarding the costs… although most griping is pointed at the Games Workshop Retail prices.  You don’t have to buy your models at the stores.  Three are plenty of online resellers that offer a discount.  Now that the Hobbit will be returned as a “Core Game”, I suspect the number of sites offering the Hobbit products will likely increase.

 There I am back and I blogged again.  Hopefully I won’t be a stranger in the future.  I’ve done a lot of hobbying in the year since my Blog was last updated.  I hope to bring some new content that from Middle Earth, 40K, and CMON and Guillotine Games’ Zombicide!

Tale of 4 Gamers – Epic Fail

Posted in Tale of Four Gamers on November 28, 2011 by BrentS

Well, November is basically over and I’ve thrown in the towel for my portion of the Tale of 4 Gamers.  I know there are a lot of reasons why I didn’t fully engage in this project (real life certainly had a way of intervening) but in reality, I did have the time that I could have completed my monthly commitments.  After working on new Dwarf models for 5-6 hours over the extended Thanksgiving Holiday, I realized that I’m just not enjoying painting these models.  I went out on a limb to try and learn to paint using a NMM approach.  My results thus far are a mixed bag.  Some of the models look okay but others look downright awful.  I was working on some Khazad Guard this weekend… these models are absolutely amazing sculpts and I just couldn’t make them look good.  It really put a damper on my hobby spirits and I just pushed the tray of models to the side.

Currently, I’ve got about 2/3 of the models for the army painted in various stages from almost finished to 1-3 base colors put down.  However, I honestly think the next step is to dunk them in Simple Green and start over.  I think the traditional Metallic techniques would do them much better.  I could probably paint over the NMM parts but it might be easier to start with a “clean slate”.  However, having already spent the time on these that I have, I don’t have the motivation to “repaint” them.

So where do I stand?  I’m looking to focus on a different army for GitD (and Adepticon after that).  I’m going to start with armies that are already partially painted I think.  I’ll pick and chose my projects over the next few weeks and try to get my mojo back.

As far as T04G goes, I think I’m going to just fade away… I don’t like to be a quitter but the whole point of the T04G was to be inspired to work towards an objective and right now, the project I have feels like a chore.

 

Bilbo’s Birthday Bash 2011

Posted in Bilbos Birthday Bash, LOTR:SBG News, Tournament on November 11, 2011 by BrentS

Bilbo’s Birthday Bash, the  3rd Anniversary celebration of Bilbo’s Eleventy-first birthday has come and gone.  What a great weekend of Lord of the Rings Gaming.  Despite some life-related set-backs earlier in the week, my friends, the LOTR playing community really stepped up and did a great job of making for a memorable event.

I need to thank a lot of people who helped me out with this event.

  • Kyle, Chris, Jeremy, and Chris for all the help with making terrain!
  • Kyle and Frank for helping me get the terrain and Chris, Chris, Josh, and Jeff for also helping setting up the event!
  • Chris from Miniature Painting Authority for being a title sponsor to the event!
  • Tim for being a great host at the Chicago Battle Bunker
  • Dan and Chris for their tremendous help in providing prize support.
  • Joe from Battlefront Miniatures for helping provide the awesome custom made Gale Force 9 turn counters!

and of course, I have to thank all of the great players from all over the country that came out to support the event.

Here’s a few images from the weekend but be sure to check out the full coverage of the tournament up on the event website

Tale of 4 Gamers – October Update

Posted in Armies, Dwarves, Tale of Four Gamers on October 16, 2011 by BrentS

Well, here we are in the middle of October and it seems as if I’ve already completely abandoned the Tale of 4 Gamers within the first 6 weeks!  I’m happy to report that is not entirely true.  I did miss out of my September painting commitment, sort of…  Here’s a shot of my monthly commitment and all of them would pass the three-color minimum at least.  However, I obviously hold myself to a higher standard than that.

With this army, I’m trying to learn to do Non-Metallic Metal painting.  Not entirely sure how I’m doing but at first glance I think the models look okay.  Learning this new technique has definitely slowed me down quite a bit.  Add on top of that a very busy non-hobby family schedule and I came up short this month.

So what did I get finished… I’d say that 5 of the dwarves are 90% done.  I just have some highlighting and shading to do on the non-metallic parts.  I really spent a lot of time working on the metallic armor and weapons but don’t have much more than a basecoat on the other parts of the models:

I also did some work on the other five models.  The armor is done on the Bow-armed dwarves.  The Dwarf Warrior with the chainmail needs some work still – I’m trying to figure out how to paint NMM chainmail.  I also started painting Floi’s armor and I just wasn’t happy with how it came out so I might have to start over on him.

So that wraps up September’s commitment… or lack of commitment.  I’ll give myself +3 points in the painting requirement as they are “modlels completed late”.
Now, its mid-October I guess I should lay out this months commitment.  I’m going to small in model count this month and hopefully still have a fighting chance to finish up.  I hurt myself already since I haven’t started and its October 14th.  I’ve been traveling a lot this month for work and I’ve got this little Lord of the Rings tournament I need to finish planning:  http://bilbosbirthdaybash.wordpress.com.  So we’ll see how much I can get accomplished!

Here’s the commitment:

  • King’s Champion
  • 1x Iron Guard

That’s 150 points and only 4 models!

Wish me luck.

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