A Low Countries Canal Build

Ever since Too Fat Lardies released their Blitzkrieg 1940 Handbook for Chain of Command I’ve been working mostly on Early War projects. I had wanted to do something with this Sarissa canal bridge and after seeing how the owner of my FLGS built his canal for a Battle of Mons game I decided to adopt some of his techniques and build my own.

I don’t have the inclination, nor the room, to make dedicated terrain boards so like everything else the canal was going to have to be modular and easy to store. As my gaming mats are 60″ wide I decided to make 5 sections, each 12″ x 12″.

I used panels of Ampersand hardboard and airbrushed several colors of green for the water and then applied three coats of Minwax acrylic gloss varnish using a foam brush. For the canal walls I used Pine Ranch Casing that I picked up at Lowes. This was cut into 12″ lengths (except for the bridge section) and airbrushed with some brown. For the walls I used some brick texture paper that was given to me by a friend. It was cut into strips and affixed with carpenter’s glue. This was finished off with a wash of Vallejo Sepia and some Secret Weapon Algae where it met the water. The completed walls were then glued to the panels with carpenter’s glue.

Next I assembled the bridge and added some fine sand on the surface of the ramps. This was then primed and painted, and I added more brick paper on the horizontal surfaces. Before cutting the canal wall pieces I placed and marked out where the bridge would go. Then I cut the short pieces of casing and finished them the same way as the others. I didn’t get any pictures of it, but the bottom “base” of the bridge had a connecting piece to make it a one piece affair and help align the ramps when opening and closing it. I had taken a leap of faith and removed it while finishing the bridge, hoping that I could align the pieces well enough when I affixed them. I attached the bridge to the canal board using carpenter’s glue and set it aside to dry. Spoiler alert – it worked.

To finish off the bridge piece, I fashioned some connecting wall pieces using card stock and the ever versatile brick paper. These were affixed to the board, and then the remaining space was filled with air-dry clay. Once this has set, I added more fine sand and painted it to kinda-sorta blend it in with the ramps. Then I flocked the edges making foot paths on both sides. I may add some detail parts in the future, and I do have some boats to finish, but for now it’s functional.

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Cold Wars ’19 Photo Dump

No AAR, but I did grab some pictures at Cold Wars – mostly of my Saturday game. Enjoy.


The Duvel Brewery

“I look for ideas at conventions and on the web, then I steal them.” – Me

Back in 2013 I reviewed a 28mm Crescent Root Studios warehouse. It’s a great piece, but it hasn’t been in heavy rotation in my games. I think the driving factor was it didn’t have a purpose. It was just this big set of buildings without a theme in the context of my other terrain.

Thanks to Richard of Too Fat Lardies I found inspiration to resurrect the warehouse and turn it into something I will use more often. A few years ago Richard started posting a series on his blog about building a brewery. This, combined with the release of the 1940 Handbook for Chain of Command and an idea I had for running a game at Cold Wars, made me think that converting my warehouse into a brewery may be a good idea.

I could have just made a sign and strewn a few barrels about, but I wanted to take the opportunity to do a few minor upgrades otherwise I feared it would just sit around gathering dust again. I applied the same techniques to all the buildings, and have used the outbuilding/shed as an example.

I started by touching up the building walls by painting over some obvious tabs and then giving them a wash of Vallejo Sepia to bring out some detail.

I then turned my attention to the doors. I painted the hinges and pulls, gave them a wash and then some dry brushing.

Lastly, I focused on the roofs. The detail on these was a little soft, and they had tabs that were showing through so I decided to reshingle them. I purchased some self adhesive laser cut paper S-Scale shingles from Rail Scale Models. These were placed directly on the existing roof pieces. I then gave them a wash and dry brushed them with multiple colors.

Once the buildings were done, I decided to copy Richard’s work a bit and add a smoke stack. I bought an HO stack from Walthers and covered it – somewhat poorly – with some textured brick paper a friend had given me. It was then given a wash and some light dry brushing. I then added an O-Scale ladder to cover up my awful vertical seams. It isn’t the best match for the other brickwork, but it’s good enough for me.

Next I applied the same techniques I used on the buildings to the walls and platforms by touching up some exposed tabs and giving them a wash. I then made the decision to make a permanent base. In the past I thought that I may use the platforms and/or walls in other settings, but that never happened. I had a piece of tempered hardboard that was the right size, and to this I attached a piece of JTT grass matt to act as a moisture barrier and a base for the flocking.

I layed out the walls and platforms, then once satisfied secured them with carpenter’s glue. After this had dried I applied the flock and tufts I wanted.

To add some final detail I wanted to add an illuminated sign. I had a 3V gooseneck lamp in my electronic gadgets box, so I wired it up with a switch. I then printed out a sign, affixed it to a thin MDF base and overpainted it. I simply attached it with poster putty so if I want to change theaters or whatnot I can.

Overall I’m pleased with the outcome and feel that this will get the playtime that it always deserved. I’m also happy that, apart from the large base, that it still breaks down for easy storage. As with anything of mine I imagine it will evolve over time. I have more barrels to add, and am already on the lookout for a hand cart.


Fall In Prep

Through late summer and now early fall I’ve mostly been working on the odds and ends for the games I’ll be running at Fall In in November. Friday late afternoon I’m running my reworked Chain of Command u-boat raid, and Saturday morning I have a Sharp Practice French and Indian War game scheduled. Here’s what I’ve been working on for my FIW game.

A Grand Manner cabin:

Some standards for the British Regulars, and some Litko movement trays:

A blockhouse from Old Glory with some palisade walls given to me by the owner of my FLGS:

A pumpkin patch using some JTT Pumpkins with a corduroy field and a Blue Moon wagon with a Fife and Drum handler:

A longboat from Firelock Games and some dock pieces from Ainsty Castings:

The H.M.S. Wet Bream, a frigate from Firelock Games with coffee stained sails sewn by the wife:

Some 18th century sailors from Galloping Major Wargames:

And finally a playtest at Southern Fried Lard in Richmond:

 


Historicon 2018

I attended Historicon in Lancaster Pennsylvania Thursday 12 July through Sunday 15 July. What follows is a short wrap-up of this year’s experience.

Thursday

I decided this year that I would leave after work rather than take the day off. That was a bad idea. I didn’t leave until 1530 and hit some bad traffic on 15 outside of Leesburg. After that the traffic cleared up a bit, but it still added an hour to my trip.

I rolled in to Lancaster and checked it at the Hilton Tru next door. If you haven’t stayed, it’s a good place. It’s new, has good breakfast in the morning, decent board gaming space in the lobby and it’s a very easy walk to the Host.

I then made my way over to the Host to catch up with some friends. I thought I was too late to get my badge, but one of the helpful HMGS staff showed me a computer in the lobby where I could print my own. After turning up the brightness on my phone, the QR scanner worked and my badge printed out – easy as pie.

Figuring that because the game I was running started at 1000 I may be able to get away with setting up and leaving it overnight, but someone had a pick-up game going on so I decided I’d have plenty of time in the AM. Actually there were quite a few games going on in the Distlefink Thursday night which was great to see.

Ed and Caleb were hanging out in the Tournament Room playing GMT’s Twilight Struggle. I caught up with them, we had a few beers and then went out for late night dinner. Afterward we just called it a night and hit the sack.

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All Packed Up

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The Coldest War

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The Tournament Room

Friday

I woke fairly early Friday morning, grabbed breakfast at the hotel and took a quick shower, then drove over to the Host. Most of my morning was spent taking a leisurely approach to setting up for my game at 1000. I did have the great pleasure of meeting Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies while setting up my game, and he didn’t disappoint.

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Waxing Philosophic

This year I decided to get out of my comfort zone and instead of running WWII games of Chain of Command, I ran games of Sharp Practice set in the French and Indian War. The scenarios were titled “The Rescue of Marguerite Boudreaux”. Here’s the write-up I submitted:

Marguerite Boudreaux has been captured by the British and is being held at a settlement on the banks of the Sinnemahoning River. Her father, the Magistrate Loring Boudreaux, has been able to convince the commander of a nearby trapping outpost that forming a rescue party would be in his best interests. Will the French be able to rescue and return Marguerite, or will the British reaction force foil their plans and retain their hostage?

I knew that all of my pre-registration tickets for this session were gone, but I only had three players show. Fortunately I had an alternate as a walk-up, so game on. The French did well as they were able to route the British force off the board. It was a really great group of players, and I had a great time. I made some minor mistakes with the rules, but it happens.

Afterward I had a large cadre (thanks lads) help me clean up, and then a small group of us “American Lardies” and Richard went to lunch across the street at the Lancaster Brewing Company. Lunch ran long, so when we returned I made my first trip to the dealer’s hall and made my only purchases of the weekend. I picked up some animals from Iron Wind for a friend and grabbed the Empress Cross of Iron character set from Age of Glory.

Later that night we were able to play in Patrick’s large early war What a Tanker game. I ran a Panhard 178 and decided that I would use it like an actual recon vehicle and proceed forward until shot at. I did exactly that and drew fire – a lot of it, helping to expose the flanks of quite a few Hun vehicles. Unfortunately the French were not rolling well and no one was able to take advantage of my foolhardy bravery. I lasted longer than expected, but brewed up none the less. Patrick had a nice bottle of whiskey which helped my emotional distress. Afterward we strolled back to the Tru and called it a night.

Saturday

I slept in a little on Saturday but not too late as I had a game scheduled for 1000 again. I set up early(ish) as usual and waited for my players to show up. According to preregistration my game was full, and at 1000 there were 4 people waiting and one alternate. I had turned the alternate away (I know, I’m a bad GM for not squeezing people in…) but then two of the player’s noted that the tickets they had (which were not from prereg but picked up that morning) were for a different game. All of us were somewhat confused, but we decided to do a five-player affair which worked out fine.

I was fortunate enough to have another great group and this time the British won. I know the sample size is small, but I’m calling it a perfectly balanced scenario. Much to my surprise as always, I received another PELA award for my efforts. I’m always super humbled by these and very much appreciate the efforts of HMGS and the volunteer judges. As a bonus, I got a total kick-ass HMGS lanyard/badge holder.

Once again I was helped quite a bit with my clean up, and then just wandered around a bit socializing and checking out other games. Here’s a shot of Ed Leland’s excellent Eastern Front Chain of Command game.

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Stunning

I then caught up with Caleb and we headed to the bar for a drink. Not my plan, but that’s where we ended up for the rest of the evening chatting with friends new and old. We then went across the street for late night chow and called it a night.

Sunday

Woke up fairly early again and packed the car for the return trip. We met up over at the Dealer’s Hall for one more quick pass, but I was in somewhat of an alcohol rebound haze. I had been debating whether I wanted to start an Eastern Front project for Chain of Command or do pirates for Sharp Practice (spoiler alert – pirates won) but I couldn’t commit to purchasing anything so I just got on the road and headed home.

Overall, this was my favorite HMGS convention to date. I think part of that has to do with hitting my stride as a GM. I’ve learned to manage games better and also that I should only run one game per day. I get exhausted trying to tackle more. Also I’m very glad that I fell in with the guys from “Lard America”. They really are a super bunch and I enjoy their company greatly. Maybe with some luck we’ll have club status by Fall In!.

I feel obligated to comment on the Host. Clearly the new ownership is working on improvements, however this time it seemed like more WIP was going on than at Cold Wars. I noticed marked improvements at CW, but other than the cranking AC not much for HCon. That said, I’m pretty easy to please so I have no real issues with the venue.

 


(First Annual?) Lard Luau

For Father’s Day this year my wife gifted me a “Day of Lard”. We rented the clubhouse in our community and several friends and myself played some Too Fat Lardies games, ate great chow and drank great beer. We then headed to our house for dinner and some late evening What a Tanker.

Overall I think is was a huge success, and there are other smaller regional “Lard Days” being planned. Hopefully others felt the same and we’ll do it again next year.

Here are a few pictures of the “Hell’s Highway” CoC game and Ed B’s excellent AWI Sharp Practice game. Next time we’ll document it better.

 


June Workbench Roundup

Another month of “I’ll just work on whatever”. Results follow.

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Girder Bridge – Warbases

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Giant Crocodile – Unknown

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Hard Suit – Lead Bones

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Exotic Idol w/tea light – Reaper

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Headless Hessian – Gorgon Studios

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Terror Bird – Iron Wind Metals

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Aztec Seer – Dragon Bait Miniatures

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Windmill – 4Ground

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Sd.Kfz. 222 – Blitzkrieg Miniatures

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Lebowski Crew – Impact! Miniatures

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German Flamethrower – Warlord, German Sniper – Artizan, German Flamethrower – Warlord

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Household Staff – Artizan

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Sister Maria – Reaper

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Werewolf – Otherworld Miniatures

 


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