Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kingdom of Britannia: General Conveyor

This month's challenge was to paint a box!  Well, not quite, but anyway, this little APC will do for packing up a unit of flame-throwers, and sending them up to the front lines of my opponent.

I have made two little additions to the basic model, firstly, I have magnetised the driver, to give me the option of fitting him, or having the hatch closed (I have yet to figure out how I will attach the open hatch as an option, rather than a permanent fixture).

Secondly, I have given attached a little pennant, with the badge of the 91st Highland Infantry (without the crown, as I have seen this version too) as this will be the unit I use with the Conveyor. The other badge on the side is taken from here. Of course, none of these are valid to the Victorian era, but then again, this is steampunk, not historical gaming, so all is good!

As always, when I take pics, you see bits I have to touch up, but it'll do for now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Weekend

Today was taken up by a visit to Ormstown Fair (the centennial edition), which was fun, involving pony rides, demolition derbies (or cars fighting, as the lil'un called it), and 100 pipers.

The reason I mention it here, is that the fair takes place next to the battlefield for the Battle of Chateauguay. Thereby leading to the continuation of my unintended treks around the battlefields of the War of 1812.  Indeed, the two battles themselves were fought in close succession (in the reverso order of my visits though!). Not really a surprise that the two were linked, and so close geographically, as the intended outcome of the St Lawrence Campaign by the Americans was to capture Montreal. This was indeed the closest battle to Montreal that was fought during the war, so indeed it is more surprising that we had not been there before.

The battlefield itself is just a large flat field now, but there is a visitor centre (we didn't go in). I did however, purchase for myself a little father's day pressie, in the form of a booklet by the Chateauguay Historical Society, which seems to cover the whole campaign in some detail. It is titled 'A Young Person's Introduction to the Chateauguay Valley" but that seems to be mainly because it was originally produced as an educationally booklet for schools. In my opinion, the secondary title is enough. it is a 32 page bookelt, with no space wasted, including a rather full intro to the whole St Lawrence campaign, including the background, geography, and all the major players. The maps and artwork seems to be rather out of focus, and hasn't been well reproduced, but since there is a web site reference for all the art, there should be no trouble finding the originals. I look forward to delving in in more detail.

There were two other points to note, that I think are relevant. First off, the pipes and drums of the Canadian Black Watch were amongst the 100 pipers who played today, and they were supposedly at the battle, as the 5th Battalion of the Select Embodied Militia (50 of whom were at the battle). Secondly, to drive to the fair, we passed through the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk reserve (the first time we had done so since coming to Canada. This in itself would make an interesting post, but we'll leave the politics of the First Nations aside for now), again, there were 150 Mohawks and others present on the field at Chatueauguay.

I really should get round to doing some proper 1812 gaming. It really should be easier to find people to play with for such a local historical period. Who says the New World doesn't have any history?

In addition to the wikipedia site above, there's a rather neat little breakdown of the battle here.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

X-Wing: The Miniature Game

I had my first game of X-wing last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fact I won may have had something to do with it, but I digress.

I have been aware of this game since its release, but I had refrained form buying onto it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don't really need the expense of a new game system, secondly, I wanted to see if it took off at my local store, and thirdly, I just didn't really have the time to start a new game, after all, I was trying to get together an army, and a few interested people to start up with Dystopian Legions, and there are only so many hours in the day.

The game I played was not a normal one, no dog-fight between X-Wings and Tie Fighters, but the first game of the mini campaign that comes with the Tantive IV expansion pack, wherein I played 1 big (huge-ass) ship, to my opponents 5 Tie Fighters. This took the game into a completely different direction that its usual dog-fight routine, into one where I had to sit out 6 turns without being blasted, until I could go into hyperdrive.

My overall thoughts? I liked it. Of course I didn't get to play the normal game with X-Wings and tie Fighters dodging around zapping each other, but the rules were super easy to pick up, even if the rules I was using were not the normal ones (piloting such a huge ship is very unlike piloting a small fighter, so the game you play is very different too. A nice touch). I think I'll be finding the time to complete the campaign at least, then after that, yeah, I might be tempted to buy a box or two of X-Wings, they are pretty cool after all.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award, that prestigious chain letter of the Blogosphere, by Ian, who had some very kind words to say on his blog.

What is a Liebster? It's a way to pass on details about yourself, and your blog, and also a way to get the word out about what may be under-appreciated blogs that you enjoy. After all, we're all in this to get our words read and pictures looked at by other hobbyists out there. Yes there is an element of a chain-letter to it, but it is a friendly well meaning one. So with that in mind, here are the rules, and my responses to the questions asked by Ian.

The Rules:
Copy and paste the award on your blog linking to the blogger who has given it to you. Pass the award on to your top 5 blogs with less than 200 followers, leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won he award and listing them on your own blog. There is no obligation to pass this on to someone else but it's nice if you take the time to do so.

Why Did I start blogging?
I had a lack of time to do actual gaming, and more time to paint. I started the blog for a few reasons, but mostly to have an outlet for the minis I had painted, as they weren't seeing the table.

If I could change one thing about wargameing what would it be? 
That I have so little time to play. 

What is Best in Life?
There's something about the lamentations of my enemies' women here isn't there? I never really was too much into Conan, nor having enemies. I guess I'd rather just chill out with my family (and get some gaming in once the kids are asleep of course!).
Fame or Fortune?
Fortune. Don't see much use on fame. Can't buy more minis with fame!

What miniatures am I most proud of painting? 
I'm quite proud of the tartan trews on these guys. In the distant past, I was also very happy with this one but I think my technique has improved somewhat since then. Otherwise, the one I've just finished is usually the one I'm most proud of!

How do I deal with burn out? 
I don't have any particular tricks to this. I just take time off, hence the inordinate amount of time it takes me to finish any one project. The fact that I have a million and one minis to paint from a tonne of different ranges and games also means I can usually find something to do when I have the time to paint.

Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
Star Wars or Star Trek? 
Star Wars. I  was never really into Star Trek. I mean I watched Next Generation when it was on, but not religiously. I had Star Wars toys as a kid, and always coveted a Millenium Falcon, but that being said, I've kind of grown out of Star Wars too. Maybe it was the prequels, but whatever the reason, I cannot get up too much excitement over the next trilogy. Lord of the Rings however, there's a trilogy I would go back to for more!

If you could buy from one manufacturer who would it be? 
That is a difficult one. If it were down to local games played, then it would have to be Privateer Press. If I only ever bought their minis, then I know I would be able to field them all in a game. If it is down to the aesthetics of the minis, then I would be really hard pressed to choose.

Favourite Take-away?
Fish and Chips. If only because I crave a good chipper. They have some of sorts here in Montreal, but they are not to be compared to a good British chippy.

Anyway, that's enough from me. I shall change how I am dealing with this slightly, in that, most of the wonderful blogs I read have already been nominated (it's the chain nature of the award I suppose), so I'm going to refrain from passing this one on as such, but I would like to take this time to showcase two blogs written by guys in my immediate gaming meta.

Wargaming Ninja Turtles.  Despite the copyright issues on the name, a great blog for reiews and battle reports. These guys have been ticking along for a while, but deserve new readership, so go check them out.

40K with Blackjack and Hookers. A relatively new blog, with far too few followers for the talent in show. Go look at the conversions on this site. They are less conversions and more just outright sculpting. Well worth a look.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Upper Canada Village

As newly minted Canadian Citizens, we get a Canadian cultural pass. This allows free access to a whole host of attractions and parks across the country, as a way of helping new Canadians to see and access the country. One of the places we can get into for free is the Upper Canada Village. This is only about an hour and a half from Montreal.

I can remember going to somethign similar as a kid, with the Canadian branch of the family on one of our many visits to Toronto as a young 'un (I think it may have been this one), but I can't remember a thing about it, other than some pigs, people in costume, and it being really muddy. Fortunately, that was not the experience we had today (the blistering sun for one kept the mud at bay). Furthermore, there were two added bonuses to the visit. First off, they were holding a Medieval Festival today, replete with vikings and jousting (not at the same time) amongst a host of other events. This we knew of before going, and was one of the reasons we went today. The second bonus was that the village is sited right beside Crysler Farm, that of 1813 fame.

Firrstly, some pics from the Medieval part of the day.

...and got to try out some others
We got to see all these warmachines in action...

Big'un gets to go for a ride on the knight's horse.
Full contact jousting.
A dragon and minstrel show.
Vikings marching to battle. I was surprised how easily the lil'un followed the chevaliers!
I was sorely tempted by the one with the wings!
Then it was back to the 1860's era village. A great mix of buildings with many roles within the village. Unlike a lot of this type of place, where you just look in and see old stuff, each one of the buildings had a volunteer playing the role of the owner of the building, and each one had very interesting stuff to pass on, as well as was able to answer any questions we had. The last little surprise, was, when looking at the map of the village, I noted one of the homes was named the Robertson House. Made me feel right at home! If you're in the area, I cannot recommend this place more highly.

In the end, the three things in one place was too much for one visit, and we didn't make it round the farm memorial site, so no pics of that. That plus the gorgeous weather all day left those of us with a soft northern complexion in need of retiring back to the air conditioned car before sun-stroke set in. The good news is that there was enough of the village still to see (and a train we didn't manage to go on), that we plan to come back another time (as it's still free for us for the rest of the year), at which point I intend to get a look at the site.

Giraffe Mask

And now for something completely different...

This is not gaming related, but is still modelling/craft/painting related.The big 'un has a school play next week. Nothing big, just her class for the parents and maybe other kindergarten students. In the play she has the role of a giraffe. For the play, each student has to provide their own costume. K wanted to buy a giraffe mask on etsy, but in my skinflint way, I decided I could do better for less. My bluff was called, so out came the papier-mache. Something I haven't worked with since I was in primary school.

The first step was to blow up two balloons to roughly the sizes of the girls heads. Yes, I only need to make one mask for school, but I have two daughters, so I have to make two masks.

Wet papier mache on two balloons. Left over-night to dry.

Dowel rod cut to size, then glued on with white glue, and toilet paper glued round the base. Toilet paper was also used to make the lump between the horns. Again left overnight to dry.

The ears were cut out from cardboard, leaving flaps at the bottom to be glued both in front and behind. Again, the ears were glued on with white glue, and the join strengthened with addition of toilet paper, white glue and water. 

The ears were covered in a layer of tissue paper to strengthen them, to look like skin, and so the card would take the paint well (the backs of the ears were shiny card). I also put tissue paper over the horns to make them a little less wooden.
The mask on the right has a tissue paper nose in place. This was an experiment in making the mask more 3-D, but I dropped this route, as it was beginning to look less like a giraffe.

The balloons were popped, and the edges trimmed to vaguely fit the children's heads. The masks were then covered with a layer of geso undercoat.

There is a lack of pictures of the next few stages, but basically, I put it on the big'un's head to see where the eyes would go, then cut eye holes, and trimmed the edges so as not to hurt her ears. Then it was on with the painting. I had originally though the eyes of the giraffe would be level with the eye-holes, but I blew the balloon up a little smaller than need be, so the eye-holes were far too low to be the real eyes. this meant they had to become the nostrils, and the eyes were painted on. After the painting was finished, cardboard eye-lashes were added as a final touch.

The nose look more like a cow or a gnu than a giraffe (giraffe noses are rather pointy) but that is just an artifact of the eye-hole placement. I'm sure with the rest of the costume it'll look better, and more giraffey.

Now I have to go finish the other one, once the lil'un has shown me where to make the eye-holes. Then the rest of the costume, which is basically a painted t-shirt. I guess that'll be this year's Halloween too!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Colore ton Monde June

The results from last month are here. Please let me know if you can see it, as it's now on Facebook, rather than blogger, and I don't know what the access is. There was no real theme for the month, and we were left free to paint whatever. I chose to do the Tod-truppen for my Thule Society for IHMN.

As has been posted on the Club Chaos Facebook page, the theme  for the month of June is as follows:
* Le temps des boîtes *
En juin, beaucoup de monde sont dans leur boîtes, se préparant à déménager. On emballe, on emboîte, on protège. Pour le mois de juin, nous vous invitons à peindre un modèle "en boîte", que ce soit une armure lourde, une combinaison étanche, un transporteur de troupe, ou toute folle déclinaison que vous créerez.
*The Time for Boxes*
In June, lots of people are in their boxes, preparing to move house. We wrap, we box, we protect. For the month of June, we invite you to paint a "boxed" model, that could be in heavy armour, a diving suit, a troop carrier, or what ever other crazy variation you create.

I have a troop carrier for my Britannians sitting waiting to be painted, which takes care of that!  Sorted!

Finally, there are two other little things I would like to mention. First off, Ubique is running a wonderfully unique give-away on his blog, so for more details, click here. Obviously, it is not in my interest for you to enter, but I really do feel it's worth yours.
Secondly, I have rather generously been nominated for a Leibster Award by Ian, who had some very kind words to say about my blog, so I shall be posting my response to that shortly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In Her Majesty's Name: The Society of Thule, Tod-truppen

This month's Colore ton Monde challenge was to paint a mini. Any mini. Man that was a toughie! I'm not being completely facetious here, as the guide to what to paint each month does help. I have a huge lead mountain to scale, and sometimes I need a little help with which direction to take next. So you might say the Colore ton Monde challenge is my Sherpa!

Finally, I decided upon some minis I bought back in the UK in February, The Society of Thule.

A recent sale of old stock by North Star Figures led to be buying a whole bunch of 1866 Prussians. This was not due to any intention of actually gaming the Austro-Prussian war, but as use for other Victorian gaming, either to be converted as Hannoverian troops for my Dystopian Legion Britannians, or as Prussians to game with in IHMN.

The last week has therefore been less painting and more model prep of these guys, and the Thule boxed set. I was surprised to see and feel that the North Star minis came with a lot of mold releasing agent still on them, so they needed a good scrub before basing and priming.

I have been trying to paint the whole lot of the Jägers, both from the IHMN box and the batch of 12 North Star Jägers, but that was taking too long for me to have any figs actually finished in time for the end of the month, so I decided to just get on and finish some of them, so as to have something to submit to this month's Colore ton Monde. Of all the minis, the Tod-truppen were the simplest to do, with less kit than the rest of the troopers.

I'm not entirely sold on the fact I went for green skin on a green uniform, but it does go with my current trend of limiting my palette.

Hopefully the rest of the contingent of Jägers will follow shortly, with the rest of the Society of Thule hot on their heels (there are 3 other character models in the box).