Tag Archives: Miniature Games

French Harbor Town – Part III

Mid-week I’ve been working on rounding out some of the bits and bobs for the town and adding in the remaining buildings.

I’ve used this WWI memorial statue “as is” for a few years now, but always felt that it needed dressed up a bit, so I put together a small memorial garden to surround it. I cut a base out of plastic card, and then added some HO scale hairpin fence around the perimeter. I then painted and flocked the base, and added some bushes and flowers. I’m not completely satisfied with it – I feel there’s too much red going on – so I may circle back and add some different flora.

Thomarillion has this nifty cast iron water pump that I picked up a while ago, and I thought it would make a nice bit for the town. I scratch built a concrete catch basin by making a box with balsa and covering it with Liquitex Stucco Texture. Then it was just a matter of some paint and washes.

Here’s the remaining buildings for the town, again from Grand Manner. The warehouse truck is from Blue Moon and the clothes line was made from balsa and an old foil wine label.

Next I’ll start working on some walls to delineate the town from the dock area.

French Harbor Town – Part II

I’ve decided to work my way from the town toward the U-boat so I can knock out some “low hanging fruit” to motivate myself. While I had the draft layout setup, I measured and trimmed an old fleece blanket gaming mat I had to use for some grassy areas. This was my first attempt at having a blanket printed and it ended up with some flaws, so I didn’t feel bad about chopping it up. Here’s the first section with the church, Dr’s house, cafe and small house on it. These buildings are from Grand Manner as are the sidewalk sections.


When I run convention games I usually bring a shaker of flock with me that I’ll use to dress up the transition areas, like the one below. I guess I’m willing to trash a convention hall floor, but not my basement.


I like to add some detail pieces to my boards to dress them out, so here’s some shots of my proposed minutia.


MBA Woodpile and Table and Chairs from a Dollhouse Manufacturer


Tomato Plants from Scenic Express and a Cold Frame from Petite Properties


Cross Plinth from Grand Manner


Diecast Repaint and some Flowering Hedges from Scenic Express

I had some empty space by the Dr’s house that I wanted to add a greenhouse to. I already had the piece from Warbases and decided to detail it a bit. I covered some of the seams on the structure with cardstock, and then fashioned some potting benches out of Renedra bases and plastic rod. The flower pots are from Scenic Express, the tools are from true2scale and the other bits came from the spare parts bin.


Some paint slapped on and voila. I decided to add a plant that I hacked together with a pot from the craft store and a small scale Woodland Scenics tree. The brick on the floor is cardstock. I downloaded the texture from Paperbrick. I added in some “glass” by cutting an old sheet of inkjet transparency.


Here’s the final product with the base flocked. I added a few garden tools on the outside, also from true2scale.

Next I’ll be ginning up a small memorial park for the town square.

French Harbor Town – Part I

“Wait, what happened to the rest of the Fall In! prep?” If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a shitty blogger.

Fall In! has come and gone, and unlike for Historicon I didn’t take enough pictures or notes to write an AAR. I can however report that I had an enjoyable time, the Host is making some marked improvements and the Lardie Days was a great success. So much in fact that the group is making preparations to host another series of TFL games at Cold Wars.

I’ll be running a few games of Chain of Command that feature a section of British Commandos assisted by a group of Franc-Tireurs mounting a raid on a U-boat moored in a French town which is garrisoned by some Heer and Kriegsmarine. I’ll be making the conning tower of the U-boat the objective under the guise of sabotage or Enigma Machine retrieval.

Knowing that my schedule can be up-ended at a moment’s notice, I’ve decided to start working on this early. I laid out what I thought would be a reasonable board and sketched a map.


I want the bulk of the town surface to be cobblestone, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of resources, including time, to create something. I decided to go with a fleece photo blanket from Walmart Photo. I purchased a cobblestone mat file from Wargames Vault, and then resized it and manipulated some color levels using Affinity Photo. Here’s what the final product looks like.

The level of the town needs to be about 2″ above the surface of the water, and I happened to have some 2″ foam in 2′ sections. It isn’t the best solution, but I scabbed together a 4′ x 5′ section of 2″ foam using some toothpicks and painter’s tape. I then wrapped the blanket around the foam and secured it with some straight pins.

For the water I had a piece of variegated blue fabric that was close to the correct size. My wife ironed on some interfacing to prevent it from fraying, and then I cut it to size. In the past, I’ve coated fabric with Liquitex Gloss Gel to create a nice water effect so I may give this the same treatment.

Next I’ll be working on some smaller detail pieces for the town.

Historicon 2017 Purchases I – Sarissa Waco Glider

As in my previous post where I’ve told myself that after every convention I’m going to write a report, I also promise myself that I’m going to finish everything I acquired before I move on to something else. This too has never happened, however I’m going to try very hard to make that happen this time. Considering my relative minimum purchases, this should be an achievable goal.

Here’s the first build/paint from my Historicon haul – the 28mm Waco Glider from Sarissa Precision. This was a pretty straight forward build, although I should have paid attention to lessons from the past and scored some of the paper parts before folding them. I added some card stock in a few locations to cover up some of the slots and tabs.

The paint job consisted of an overall color of olive drab and hand painted invasion stripes on the wings and rear fuselage. The orders for pre-Overlord invasion stripes didn’t come to troop carrying units until June 3rd, so needless to say many of these jobs were rushed. I’ve seen photographs of varying quality of these, so I marked mine out and painted them by hand to give the effect of an “average” job. Decals are from my stash.

Historicon 2017

I attended Historicon in Fredericksburg Virginia Thursday 13 July through Sunday 16 July. I tell myself that after each HMGS convention I attend I’m going to post an AAR on this blog, but it never happens. What follows is my first attempt to recap my experience at a con.


Caleb, Dennis and I finally got on the road around 0915, car loaded with mostly terrain for the games I was running. The trip was uneventful until we hit the I-95 interchange on 17S where it was backed up quite a bit. We circumvented the traffic and went in the back way, arriving at the Expo Center a little before 1100.

We had all preregistered so getting our credentials was a breeze, and we headed into the main gaming hall. After socializing with a few friends and snapping a few pics, I figured I would set up for my game that kicked off at 1400. I’m glad I started early as I got chatty with a few people and didn’t finish up until 1330. With 30 minutes left I went to the head, and had what was probably the most humorous exchange of the weekend. The gentleman at the urinal next to me squeezed out one of those wet sounding farts – kinda sounded like a water balloon full of guacamole rolling down a flight of steps and breaking open at the bottom. I asked him “Did you get any on you?” and he laughed and replied “I don’t know, I’ll have to check.” I was thankful, as that could have gone poorly for me. On the way back to the table I got a beer (a fully sanctioned, purchased in the venue beer) to take the edge off before starting.

After play testing my scenarios using Disposable Heroes II, I made the decision to switch to Chain of Command as I am more familiar with it and I felt it worked better with the way I wanted my games to run. My rules change and the 1 hour time extension for my slots came along late in the process and weren’t reflected in the program, but it didn’t seem to bother any of the players. For this session I had one pre-registered player, two with tickets they got that morning, one walk on and one observer.

I introduced myself to the crew and gave a very brief overview of the rules, then I pulled aside the German and American players separately to discuss their OOBs and objectives. The scenario was set in Normandy late in the campaign, with the Germans defending a village and the Americans trying to push them out. The Germans took the first phase, rolled their Command Dice and we were off and running.

Overall the game went okay. Most of the players seemed to enjoy themselves, and we all shared a lot of laughs. It was hard for me to convince the Americans that they needed to be a bit more aggressive. For the most part the bulk of their forces stayed behind a hedge for the majority of the game. The M-10 did take out the Panzer IV with it’s first shot, but then the Germans became conservative with their armor. Still, I think everyone enjoyed themselves which is what really matters. As a bonus I picked up my second Pour Encourager Les Autres (PELA) Award. From the HMGS site:

The “PELA” is a GM Award primarily for a traditional historical based miniatures gaming event, and selected during morning, afternoon and evening sessions daily. The “Pour Encourager Les Autres” quote stems from an Admiral from the Age of Sail, who, after a defeat was executed “To encourage the others.”

After tearing down and packing up again, I went and checked in next door at the Homewood Suites. I hauled my stuff upstairs and went out for a late dinner. Afterwards I went back to the con but was so worn out from the day I called it a night and hit the sack.

Here are some pics from my game:

And a few shots from around the main hall:


I woke fairly early Friday morning, grabbed breakfast at the hotel and took a quick shower, then drove over to the Expo Center to get a good parking space to unload. Most of my morning was spent taking a leisurely approach to setting up for my game at 1000. I finished up, grabbed a cup of coffee and put my game face on.

I knew that all of my pre-registration tickets for this session were gone, but I only had three players show and, surprisingly, no walk ups as there have been in the past. The one player was a good sport and agreed to handle 2 platoons on his own as the other players were friends that came together. One of these was a gentleman maybe ten years my senior, and it was his first wargame ever – no pressure.

The scenario was an early war engagement with the French defending and the Germans attacking. Both sides ended up playing aggressive which made for a great game. The newbie ended up playing the French armor and was rolling hot with his Char B1 bis early on, taking out the Panzer IV and tearing up an infantry squad with the howitzer. Everyone had a great time, and later that day I saw the new player walking out with a bag of something from the Dealer’s Hall, so mission accomplished.

Some snaps from the game:

After cleanup and stowage, I finally took my first stroll through the Dealer’s Hall. I really didn’t have much of a shopping list but, as impractical as they are at the scale, I’ve always wanted a 28mm Waco Glider. Recently Sarissa Precision released one and Wargame Tools had them at the show, so I picked one up.


We hit an early dinner, then headed back to the con to stroll around. I peeked my head in one of the smaller meeting rooms and saw Rob from The Brit, The Yank and The Hobby Podcast. We had met earlier in the day, and they were about to play in a game of Combat Patrol so he asked the GM (also the author of the rules Buck Surdu) if I could join in. I own a copy of the rules and the necessary card decks, so I was pleased that he squeezed me in.

I ended up playing on the US side and running a squad with a halftrack. Our objective was to clear a road running down the middle of the board lengthwise. I was outnumbered with my suggestion of advancing on a wide front (the Germans started the game hidden), so we overloaded the left flank which ended up causing some traffic jam problems, but we ended up advancing fairly far by game’s end. I like the rules, although Chain of Command will remain my go-to skirmish game. I really like the activation sequence. Each unit has a D6 associated with it, then units are activated when their number comes up in a card deck. There’s a turn end card in the deck that forces everyone to reroll the D6 associated with their units. Combat and movement is all resolved with card flips. All in all, a very enjoyable game that has some solitaire potential. After the game ended it was late and I was exhausted, so I headed off to bed.

Combat Patrol:


I slept in a little on Saturday but not too late as I had a game scheduled for myself at 0900 – Kong – Rescue of Ann Darrow. This was a fun little pulp game with toy figures. The players took the rolls of film crews searching Skull Island for Kong and Ann Darrow in an attempt to rescue her and subdue the beast with poison gas. The group was pretty fun, there were giant creatures to wrangle, we completed our objectives and the game was only 2 hours long so there’s wasn’t much to not like about it.

Skull Island adventures:

Afterward, I went out to the car to grab my entries for the Wargames Illustrated Painting Competition. I had debated a bit about what to enter if anything, and as a last minute decision I entered my Warlord M-10 in the Warmachine category, and my Trenchworx Panzer IV in the Open category. After dropping off my entries a group of us walked to the Wegman’s next door for lunch.

When we returned I finally spent some time in the Dealer’s Hall, walking around at a nice leisurely pace. I made a few purchases for some Wild West/Weird West games and then headed to the Flea Market. There wasn’t anything there that caught my eye, so I socialized for a while before we could pick up our entries for the painting competition.

My small haul:

When I went to pick up my entries, my friend Richard was in line in front of me. Richard is a great painter, and was the recipient of Best in Show at last year’s Historicon. He cleaned up again this year with three firsts, a second and a third place entry and his second Best in Show in a row. When it came time to turn in my tickets to retrieve my entries I was very surprised with the results. My Panzer IV took second in the Open category, and my M-10 took first in the Warmachine category and was also voted Best of Theme (100 Years of Tanks) and Best of Warlord Games. I was very flattered and quite frankly shocked by this. Added bonuses are that maybe Richard and I will have a picture of us together in Wargames Illustrated, and now maybe I can let go of Warlord turning me down to do comission vehicle work for them a few years ago.

The entries:

After the hubbub we headed out for early dinner, which seemed to last a lifetime. When we got back Caleb and I setup my early war game that I had run on Friday, and played a relaxing game of Chain of Command head to head. We talked to a few passers by about the game and the terrain, then packed up and called it a night.


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. I found nothing that I needed, and the same for the Flea Market so we headed home. All-in-all Historicon 2017 was a great time, and I’ve had a blast at all the HMGS conventions I’ve attended. Even though Fredericksburg is only an hour away for me, I don’t think I’ll miss that venue much. It was bloody hot – like two rats banging in a wool sock hot – and they have some silly rules regarding alcohol. That said, I certainly didn’t dislike the place and will probably go wherever HMGS holds Historicon in the future (within reason…). Here’s looking forward to Fall In.


D6 Consolidation Move

A few months ago my dealings with some personal grief manifested itself in rearranging a portion of our basement to include moving the gaming table and a cabinet or two. In trying to keep up with my new “less is more” philosophy, this was followed up by a rather large purge of board games, and a less dramatic cleansing of some terrain and miniatures. It ended up being very cathartic for me, and I’m pleased with the results.

Here’s an IKEA BESTÅ cabinet that now holds all of my board games with a little room for some GMT additions that I have pre-ordered. The majority of the space is taken up by my ASL collection. It gets about zero playtime, but I can’t seem to let it go. According to professional organizer Marie Kondo, you should hold items in your hands and keep them only if they spark joy. ASL maps spark joy in me…

Another IKEA BESTÅ for the bulk of my finished miniatures. There are 10 slide out trays (which have unfortunately been discontinued) that I’ve placed self adhesive magnetic sheets in as most of my minis have metal bottoms of one type or another. The board game blow out also allowed me to replace some of the wooden shelves with glass ones for display.

I’ve been trying to populate these with small vignettes, but it’s still a work in progress. I will probably add some lighting in the future.

This IKEA BILLY bookcase has been around a really long time, but it’s still holding up – as long as it’s well secured to the wall. The bottom half stores my terrain and basing supplies and the upper shelves hold my reference and rule books.

Wait for it…more IKEA! My heritage is mostly Swedish, so please be patient. The ALEX drawers hold linear terrain, e.g., rivers and roads while the short BESTÅ contains mostly 28mm WWII vehicles and some one-off items. The relocation of these was one of the driving factors for the revamp, apart from my psychosis. The ALEX unit used to reside under the gaming table and the BESTÅ was across the room in a corner by the kid’s play area, so both were difficult to access. They now are in the open and in close proximity to the game table so, win.


The least affected area was the terrain closet. I’m getting rid of a large container of Geo-Hex (which apparently is being produced again) as it goes largely unused.


As a finishing touch I moved the game table out from against the wall. So far this has worked out great as we now have 360º access, where as before one short edge was against the wall making it difficult to play certain scenarios. The placement has left ample room to walk around the perimeter, and I don’t feel that the table dominates the space even though it is a large piece of furniture.

I’m thankful I went through this exercise as it really has made the space more useful. I always find purging to be helpful as well but I have more work to do in that arena, namely:

  1. I have an unhealthy obsession with terrain and have multiple types of roads and rivers that I need to let go.
  2. While not ridiculous, my X-Wing collection makes me sad. I should have stuck to a starter box.
  3. I have WWII aircraft in multiple scales. As I prefer small dogfights, I think 1/200 may be the way to go.
  4. In my endless quest to create the perfect flight stand for CY6!, I have ended up with a pile of garbage. I need to pick a design and move on.
  5. Even on an endless timeline, I’ll never paint my 10mm Battle of Five Armies stuff.
  6. Speaking of fantasy, there’s no need to have a box full of Reaper Bones when I don’t play any fantasy games.

One area where I do feel like I have a handle on things is my historical miniatures. Maybe I’m in denial, but I don’t feel like I have an unmanageable amount of unpainted lead/resin in this category. Maybe I should actually count it…

Anyway, enough rambling. All I can do is what we all do – learn from my mistakes, move on and try to improve. I’ll leave you with some wisdom from Atom Smasher who does it better than I.

Pulp/Horror Menagerie

I have a new 28mm WWII Polish Campaign project I’m starting and I needed to clean off my workspace. This group of “stuff” has been sitting around partially finished, so I spent some time completing it. There are some pre-paints in here – some I repainted, some I lacked the motivation to update, so those were just rebased.

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