Monday, September 16, 2019

Lord of the Isles Wages Battles Worthy of a Saga

A 2-on-2 Saga battle, with John (Normans) & Dave (Viking), top, against Jenny and Mike S (Last Romans)
We had 10 players waging war at once across Dark Age and Medieval battlefields during our monthly Saga game days at Guardtower East. As always, Steve P and Andy S hosted, but this time I was able to convince both of them to play, as well. We had one brand new player, a second time player, and a handful of gamers who had used the rules several times among our 10 warlords. Armies included Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Irish, Normans, Romans, Last Romans (Byzantines), Crusaders, and my own first time playing the Norse-Gaels. Although most people think of the Vikings in Ireland when they think of this list, it is also for Scotland's Kingdom of the Isles (essentially the Hebrides Islands in the Viking Age).
My Norse-Gael armys at bottom (with Vikings, Scotsmen, & levies) closes in for the kill against Dave E's Viking list
I decided not to play my normal Welsh list this time because, frankly, I wanted to try something different. I enjoy playing my Kingdom of Gododdin with Lord Gwendawg as its defender, but I think I have the hang of using this army in Saga, by now. Not to brag, but I have won every game I've played using this list, so I thought it was high time I tried my hand at commanding a new army. The Norse-Gaels immediately caught my eye when I saw they could be used for the Kingdom of the Isles. I've always felt that this mix of native Vikings, Scots and Picts was a really interesting period, and have long wanted an army to represent their best-known king, Somerled.
Our first battle against Jeff F's Crusaders, at top, did not go so well - not the numerous levies advancing in support
I certainly had the figures already, using my Viking miniatures as the army's hearthguard (elite warriors), my Picts in their tartans and checkered cloaks as the warriors, and various Dark Age and Medieval peasants or tribesmen as the levy. In fact, the Norse-Gael list played into the strength of my collection, so to speak. When I began painting up 28mm Dark Ages miniatures years back it was not for Saga, but for Song of Drums and Tomahawks, which requires far fewer figures for battles. So, I don't technically have enough miniatures to field a Saga army for each of the nations I have in my collection. I have enough Britons to use as Saga Welsh, of course, but am still short of enough for a good list of the Picts (which I will use as Saga Scots -- the Pictish list is for the earlier period, which fought the Romans). Neither do I have enough for Saxons or Irish, but I have a growing force of each. 
A bad omen -- six javelin armed, Combat Bonus aided Scotsmen charge to their death against Crusader crossbow
Perusing the Saga battle board (command and control) for the Norse-Gaels, I was struck by how one-dimensional they are. Their abilities essentially allow them to amass great amounts of combat bonus dice to deal death upon their enemies. There is none of the tactical subtleties you find in the Welsh list -- no Evade or abilities that allow you to take an action during opponent's turns. Instead, there is a very clever list of cascading abilities that allow you to continually roll available (already used) Saga dice and place them in your combat pool. I thought it would be fun learning how to use them all in the proper order to maximize my army's attacks.
The die rolls went Jeff's way again and again -- perhaps God was on his side, after all? Deus Volt!
There is also a component that allows you put fatigue onto your levies, sparing your main combat troops, or to amass more combat dice for other units in battle. As such, in my first game I spent two of my six points of troops on levy, breaking them into three units of 8 foot armed with javelins. Their job would be to hang back behind the main battle line, close enough to be used to "soak" up fatigue intended for my hearthguard or warriors. In my second battle, I dropped that back to one point of levy, splitting the dozen into two units of six. I liked this much better because it gave me the extra point of troops to spend a third on hearthguard. This meant I could have two units of six figures in my second game, more survivable than the two units of four I had in the first.
"Big Mistake, Indy!" My warlord is Exhausted (3 fatigue), a sitting duck for Jeff's divinely-inspired crossbowmen
The remaining two points went into warriors, which were armed with javelins. I have a choice for all my foot troops to use either javelins or heavy weapons (think Viking long axe or Scottish claymore). I ended up choosing heavy weapons for my warlord and hearthguard, but javelins for the warriors and levy.
At bottom, John's Normans advance while Dave's Vikings move up in support against Mike and Jenny's Last Romans
My first game did not go too well. I faced Jeff F's Crusaders army -- a very potent list. He had some very nasty abilities on his battle board, including Blessing of the Righteous, which when played means a unit can only lose as many casualties as its armor class. The Norse-Gaels are built on dealing maximum, overwhelming attacks against enemy -- quite likely eliminating enemy in a single charge. There was no more devastating ability than Blessing to counter our strength. Chinks in the Armor is an incredibly nasty attack, too -- giving the Crusaders either four or six bonus attack dice in an attack. I found out quickly that things were not going to go well when a unit of my warriors charged his warrior crossbowmen (missile armed troops should have been easy prey for my souped-up charge), and Blessing meant we killed only three of their eight figures. Meanwhile, aided by Chinks in the Armor, they eliminated my unit completely. The same thing happened when I charged with a unit of hearthguard -- I caused three hits and he eliminated my unit.
Two buildings occupied by Norman archers proved too tough a fortress to assault for Jenny's Last Romans
I made a rookie mistake, too, forgetting to save Expendable for the charge of my Warlord. Instead of being able to give all or most of the fatigue he accumulated onto the nearby unit of levy, he ended up the battle Exhausted -- right in front of Jeff's crossbowmen! "Big mistake, Indy!" We called the game when I was down to my two units of levy, while he still had half of his double-size knights unit and his warlord, plus levy Pilgrims.
Jason's Romans march through a valley to confront Steve's Norman battleline (bolstered by his son's dice rolling)
My second game went MUCH better. I faced Vikings commanded by Dave E -- who had called me that week after disappearing from the gaming scene here in Columbus for a couple decades. He siad his kids were grown, now, and he was looking to get back into gaming. I talked him into coming to the Guardtower and he said he had a great time playing two games of Saga. Both Steve P (who had finished his game) and I tried to help him out as much as possible, giving tactical advice and pointing out advantages and disadvantages of various moves (and battle board abilities). We couldn't save him from his below-average dice rolling, though. Nor from the cascading bonus combat dice of the Norse-Gael battle board. Everything I wanted to do against Jeff, but was frustrated by his excellent rolls and frustrating Crusader abilities, worked to perfection against Dave.
My Warlord, bottom center, watches his Viking hearthguard, left, and Scots warriors, right, close in on the Viking enemy
I was getting the hang of which abilities to use to amass a handful of bonus combat dice. For example, you can stock your pool with Clenched Fists (which allows you to roll 3 or 4 available Saga dice -- such as ones you've already used for movement), and place them on your Combat Bonus. Roll ALL of them in your next attack, then use Spill Blood to restock it. This ability allows you to roll as many dice as there were casualties in that melee -- combined, from both sides! Bingo!! Full Combat Bonus pool for another devastating charge!
Closing stages of first game -- only 2 units of levy left to face Jeff's knights, warlord, surviving crossbow, and pilgrims
Needless to say, I really enjoyed playing the Norse-Gaels. Their in-your-face style was certainly a change from the more finesse Welsh list. I think the Welsh are a more powerful army, and I think there are many things that could frustrate the one-track Norse-Gaels in a game. However, when the blood starts flying on the battlefield, you are in their wheelhouse, so to speak. They certainly must be a potentially frightening army to face!

Here are the results of Sunday's games, near as I can figure:

Jason S (Romans), defeated Steve B (Normans) and Mike S (Last Romans)

Andy S (Anglo-Saxons), defeated Steve P (Irish)
John P (Norman), defeated Jenny T (Last Romans)

Dave E (Viking), defeated Mike S (Last Romans), lost to Mike D (Norse-Gaels)
Jeff F (Crusaders), defeated Mike D (Norse-Gaels), lost to Jenny T (Last Romans)
Jenny T (Last Romans), lost to John P (Normans), defeated Jeff F (Crusaders)
Mike D (Norse-Gaels), lost to Jeff F (Crusaders), defeated Dave E (Vikings)

Steve P (Irish), lost to Andy S (Anglo-Saxon)
Steve B (Norman), lost to Jason S (Romans)

Mike S (Last Romans), lost to Dave E (Viking), lost to Jason S (Last Romans)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Labor Day (and night!) of Board Games

From left, Mike S, Jason, and Brian were my opponents in the venerable Avalon Hill board game, Britannia
Since Mike S drives over from Springfield nearly every Sunday, we thought it would be nice to return the favor and have the Sunday night gaming group visit him. We picked Labor Day afternoon for the occasion, with most of us arriving around 2pm. Most of the group made it, plus a nice handful of additions -- Mike's nephews Thomas and Daniel, his son Jason, and Jenny. We had planned on a cookout, but decided to do pizza instead, since it was supposed to storm.
Britannia was always one of my favorites, but needing exactly four players and a LONG time limited its playing
One of the main goals of the day was to "dust off" some of the old classic boardgames that take a long time to play. We figured we could start in the afternoon and finish at a reasonable time. As we had 10 of us total, I suggested a six-player History of the World and four-player Britannia. As it was, we decided to break out Secret Hitler, as it can play up to (exactly) 10 players. As usual, the Fascists won. I think every time I have played this game the Liberals have lost. Must be an accurate simulation!
This game is always a winner, and Jenny capitalized on her Sunday game night presence by winning it
Next, I polled everyone to see what they wanted to play. A number wanted to play Power Grid, so we did the six-player group as that, instead. Myself, Mike S, Brian, and Jason opted for Britannia. It took a good 20 minutes to go over the rules, as players were sorting their kingdom's pieces. For those that haven't played this Avalon Hill classic, it covers the history of Britain from the Roman invasions to the Norman attack. Players are given a series of nations or kingdoms to control. I drew Green, which meant I had the Welsh, Caledonians, Jutes, and Danes. Jason drew Purple, unfortunately for him, as it meant a newbie had to learn quickly playing the Roman invasions. Mike S was Red, and Brian -- the other new player -- was Blue.
Jason and Brian roll off as they struggle for control of Britain
It was great to play the game, again. I tried to give as many tactical hints as I could to the new players, but it takes awhile to get the flow of the game and understand ways to achieve your objectives. My goal with the Welsh was to survive the Roman onslaught, and Jason tried to make that VERY difficult for me, assaulting into my heartland. I had an incredible series of die rolls, though, and repulsed his attack. As a new player, he did not make a hard push north, which meant the Brigantes were barely touched, and the Picts were completely unmolested. The Picts, in turn, could then concentrate on the Caledones and the Scots when they arrived, pushing them back and marginalizing them.

It was a fun game - as Britannia always is, I feel. I had a comfortable lead the couple times we checked the scores. However, Brian made a surge at the end and overtook my by 2 points -- 119 to 117!
Night had fallen out on the screened-in porch where Daniel, Jenny, Keith, Thomas, and Joel gamed on
About halfway through our game, the Power Grid game ended with a Jenny win. They decided to set up Fortune and Glory, which surprised us, as we knew it was a long game. And so it proved, as they continued on for at least another hour after we had packed up Britannia. Fortune and Glory is fun, but there is just so much STUFF in the game. It takes forever to set up, and you constantly need to refer to the rules to see how to handle all the different situations that crop up.
We simply don't play Fortune and Glory often enough to be familiar with the rules to make it go quickly
As it was, we had a much longer day than we anticipated, and didn't finish till after 11pm (later than our normal Sunday evening gaming when we start at 7pm!). It was fun, though. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it was a great way to wrap up summer.

Monday, September 2, 2019

SAAF Buccaneer Joins My Air Force

South African Air Force Blackburn Buccaneer in 20mm, 3D-printed by my friend Joe
Here's the second addition to my 20mm air force for my Wars of Insurgency games. The biggest of the four 3D prints that my friend Joe did for me was this Blackburn Buccaneer. It was used by the South African Air Force in their border wars as a fighter bomber, primarily. It is also the star of one of my favorite stories about jets used in a ground attack role, occurring during the Battle of Cassinga. So, I definitely wanted one of them for my upcoming game at Advance the Colors 2019.
Close up of the canopy and nose of the aircraft
This aircraft was also way too big for the current flight stands I use, so made me rethink what I was going to use for them. I have ended up buying a couple small camera tripods, which though perhaps a bit more obtrusive on the tabletop, will be way more steady than the ones I've been using. My helicopters have already tipped over on those flight stands a half dozen times, incurring damage to the model.
Yes, the landing gear are down on this 3D-printed model - but beggars can't be choosers!
Every picture I could find online of the SAAF Buccaneer showed it painted mostly in a dull, gray color, unlike the camo pattern of the Mirage III that I painted up earlier. I made the best of it, though, using a medium gray with lighter gray highlights, and a final black wash to blend it all together. I know that a scale modeler would be aghast at my amateurish paint job on this aircraft, and wonder why I didn't use commercially available decals for the markings. I honestly was worried how the decals might show the texture of the 3D printed model (it is not uniformly smooth). Also, I wanted to do these relatively inexpensively, and they ARE gaming pieces, after all. Not scale models for display. That may be a cop-out, but I tend to err on the side of frugality in most of my approach to the hobby, so is par for my course.
My amateurish hand-painting of the insignia and markings on the model

I liked the new way that I did the cockpit canopy, trying to show the blue sky reflecting onto the glass. I think I will do it this way for the remainder of the aircraft models I paint up. Astute observers will have noticed this model has the landing gear down. I contemplated breaking them off, but the pylons were pretty strong. Plus, they attach in a recessed area between the fuel tanks and fuselage that would be very hard to sand smooth. So, I went with it, and painted it up with the gear down. Had I wanted to pay $30 (after shipping) instead of $5 for a die-cast Buccaneer, I could have gotten a more streamlined model.
Top-down view of the Blackburn Buccaneer screaming in for a ground level attack
Next up, I am painting a small batch of 28mm Saga miniatures. After that, I will begin on the six BTR-152 armored cars that my friend Mike 3D printed for me. They will also be used in my Battle of Cassinga scenario at ATC 2019.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Great Turnout at Saga Game Day in August

Clash of Cavalry as Lord Gwendawg of Gododdin faces the strange Saracen foes who have invaded Britain
We have been trying to grow our group of local and area players who come out and play the Dark Age/Medieval skirmish rules, Saga. This time, we had 10 people show up. Andy and Steve P chose to run and assist, as we had 3-4 people who had never played. The biggest contingent came from Springfield, OH, where Mike S brought his son Jason and two nephews, Daniel and Thomas. I had made a concerted effort to recruit them, as I thought they'd enjoy the rules. Both Jason and Thomas had a game or two under their belt, but Daniel, Jenny, and Joe were new to the rules.
Mike S & Jenny square off in a Byzantine Civil War while Jason and Thomas trade jibes as they ready to do battle
We were using six-point armies as we tried to match up experienced players (to help teach) against less experienced ones. This meant a first round that saw Mike S use his Byzantines (Last Romans) against Jenny, using the same list. Jason and Thomas squared off with Vikings vs. Normans, respectively, while I helped teach Daniel (who was using Saracens). Lord Gwendawg and my army of Gododdin (Welsh) was my usual force -- I think this is the fifth or sixth time I have played them. Latecomers Joe and Jeff were match up with Anglo-Danes and Crusaders. Meanwhile, Andy and Steve generously gave up their playing time and hovered around, answering questions and helping out.
The right hand side of my battlefield with center scrub brush and woods on the right
As it turned out, two groups got in two games, while two matchups played only one game apiece. My game with Daniel got off to a late start, as I encouraged Daniel to seize the opportunity of a visit by Steve V, who was selling off his Saga stuff, to pick up the rulebooks and some figures cheap. He ended up purchasing a lot of Steve's unpainted Anglo-Danes, along with the core rules and the Age of Vikings book. I originally was buying Steve's Anglo-Dane dice, but since Daniel was shelling out the money for the army, I let him buy them instead. I still picked up Book of Battles and the Viking dice Steve V was selling.
The center of our battlefield with my two units of warriors, Lord Gwendawg, and then the Saracen battle line beyond
Apparently, after being stopped by Charles "the Hammer" Martel in France, the Saracens tried a back door into Europe and invaded Britain. Lord Gwendawg gather a force of his mounted and foot warriors and was sent by the King of Gododdin to meet the foreign invasion. We met at a semi-wooded battlefield, which we felt favored our foot javelinmen. A large area of scrub brush in the center of the battlefield divided our armies, while a large woods dominated our right flank. Another woods guarded the Saracens' left flank, near their baseline. Lord Gwendawg deployed his two large units of warriors to attack through the scrub brush, while the javelin levy would advance through the woods on the right. The large mounted hearthguard contingent deployed on the left, where they were soon joined by the warlord himself.
The startling, if ill advised, charge of the Saracen warlord, who is soon peppered with javelins two both sides
Opposite our hearthguard was an equal-sized mounted warrior unit armed with composite bows. Beyond the scrub brush were two small units of Saracen warriors, supported in their rear by a small hearthguard cavalry unit, also armed with composite bows. Across from the gap between the scrub and wood were a unit of Saracen levy archers, supported to their rear by their warlord. Extending their left, and seeking to do an end-around flanking move, was another small unit of hearthguard cavalry with composite bows.
Daniel moves his cavalry up to try to break my mounted battle line on the left
Lord Gwendawg ordered an immediate advance, the foot units making their way through the terrain and the mounted Britons sweeping around our left. The flaking cavalry began its sweep, but quickly realized there would be nobody to outflank, as we were advancing too quickly. They began to double back, while sending out the mounted warriors and the right hand mounted hearthguard to meet the ride of the mounted arm of Gododdin. Surprisingly, the warlord himself advanced into the gap between the scrub and woods, but after receiving a shower of javelins from the levy and the warriors, he retreated quickly, badly shot up. Most opponents are surprised by the missile power of my Welsh army. Every figure in the army is armed with javelins. All can shoot 6" as a free action when they move, which often softens the enemy up prior to our charge.
A dogged shooting match ensured between Daniel's Saracen levy and my javelin-armed levy
After receiving a volley of composite bows from the Saracen mounted warriors, Lord Gwendawg ordered them to charge in reply. The entire unit was ridden down, and the supporting mounted Saracen hearthguard withdrew in fear before our ferocity. In the center, one of our warrior units charged into the smaller Arab warriors after softening them up with javelins, and also destroyed them to a man. And so it continued, our javelins and charges causing great losses among the Saracens. Surprisingly, their levy archers drove off not only our Levy javelinmen but a charge of our warriors.
The brave men of Gododdin push the Saracens back, whittling their numbers down with our javelins and charges
The Arab warlord was desperate, though, and sent a depleted unit of foot warriors to charge our mounted hearthguard. They fell to a man, but took a few Briton nobles with them. The Arab hearthguard cavalry also charged in, and they too were destroyed, but in the process, my mounted hammer was down to just two figures. However, we had backed the Saracens into a small cluster of foot archers, warlord, and hearthguard cavalry. The men of Gododdin closed in, hurling javelins. Shouting to Allah, the warlord charged my center warrior line, and went down in a hail of javelins. At this point, Daniel conceded.
First round cousin warfare, as Jason's Vikings left take on Thomas' twice-victorious Norman warband
It was a bloody battle, with Daniel's archery causing the most casualties. My Welsh army continues to be fearsome in both hand-to-hand and shooting. I really like this battle board -- its "advanced abilities" are VERY tactical. I can respond to what other players do AND use other abilities that augment our charges equally. Steve P and Andy both vowed that next time THEY would play me to end Lord Gwendawg's "reign of terror," as they put it. I glibly reminded Steve that our reign began months ago with my first game using the Welsh against his Romans...!

On the other battlefields, Jenny had defeated Mike S in the Byzantine civil war in her first game. Thomas' Normans had ridden down his cousin Jason's Vikings. They swapped opponents and Thomas continued his hammering of opponents as he defeated Mike in a scant three turns! Jenny and Jason had a slugfest, but the melee ability of the Vikings won out, and each ended the day with a 1-and-1 record. I am not sure how Jeff and Joe's game ended. They ended up playing 7-8 turns because outcome was still in balance. It looked like it could go either way to me, though the Crusaders seemed to hold the advantage in numbers of troops remaining.

All in all, it was a great day for Dark Age skirmishing at the Guardtower East. Our group is really growing, and our new players are purchasing armies so they can field their own troops. Good times, and Gododdin remains free of foreign invasion for another season, as Lord Gwendawg continues to protect his king's realm.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Gang Warfare Playtest #2 with Smaller Group

City streets are quiet just before the gangs show up to rumble in my second playtest of my Gang Warfare rules
Since I knew we'd only have five of us, this Sunday, I seized the opportunity to try the rules with a four-player game. I wanted to see if the dynamics or play was different with only four, as opposed to six players last time. I also added in the traits for figures, giving all leaders a special trait and three others to be divided among their eight-figure gangs.
The Hilltop Highlanders prowl down the alley past their turf, the Shell gas station
I also shrunk the board down, keeping the 3' depth, but shortening the width to around 4'. I wanted to see how this affected play, as well. All in all, fewer players meant fewer fights breaking out. One gang, the Linden Daos -- who rumbled the most in the last game -- actually never attacked another gang (or was attacked in return). Keith admitted after the game he missed on his victory points that beating up on certain gangs gave him bonus points. So, he completed his special mission, defended his turf, and sent members out to tag nearby buildings.
The Bexley Block Watch keeps an eye on the playground and basketball court
Each gang is given a special mission (+15 victory points if accomplished), turf to defend (where they can lose up to 15 points), bonus points for knocking out other gang members (sliding scale, some gangs being worth more than others to them to represent arch-rivals), points for "tagging" buildings, and negative points for members knocked out.
The Linden Daos emerge stealthily from an alley way, eyeing their objective
The only gang to not accomplish their special mission were the hapless Bexley Block Watch, whose middle aged members once again took it on the chin. They were jumped by both the Hilltop Highlanders and the Japanese schoolgirls. In the end, Brian had only two members still standing. Last time, I made each player's turf they were trying to defend the object of the special mission of another gang. This time I purposely did NOT do that. Each player's special mission required them crossing the center of the board, though, to give them maximum opportunity to mix things up.
Mike S, Keith, and Mike W watch as Brian measures his move, advancing the Bexley Block Watch towards the center
I liked how the traits worked out, though with less fighting in this game, some of the traits (Blackbelt, in particular), did not get used. I will keep mixing in more of them in upcoming games so that I have a good idea of how powerful they are and how many points to cost them out at. I am thinking of dropping the number of gang members per player for larger games to seven instead of eight. Although this game moved along quickly, I want six player and large games to do so, as well.
The leader of the Hilltop Highlanders emerges to see the coast is definitely NOT clear on these mean streets
Only one new building (Stelzer Steel Industries) was added to my urban landscape this game, but there should be more by next game. I have decided that I really like the dark wool felt I use as the base cloth. In photos, it LOOKS like asphalt, I feel. However, I am going to replace the lighter gray felt as concrete. I hope to find styrene at a reasonable cost to create concrete city blocks, and will flock those so that the board has a more three dimensional look.
A three-way rumble breaks out between the Bexley Block Watch, Hilltop Highlanders, and the Japanese Schoolgirls
No major complaints from the players. I think they are enjoying the games. The interaction between gangs is good, as they attack each other when one gets too close in their eagerness to defend their turf. I may even expand gangs' turf next game from one to two buildings/structures.
A menacing line of martial artists - the Linden Daos take up position to guard their turf, remaining surprisingly passive
I hope to do another playtest in September, and maybe even run it on Saturday night at Advance the Colors. Stay tuned for more gang warfare!
Sneaking through the parking lot seemed like a good idea, but brought the Block Watch too close to Hilltop turf!
Keith watches, keeping an eye on Brian's movement of the Bexley Block Watch -- making sure they don't come too close!
For all their posing, the Linden Daos never attacked another player in this game
The rumble between the Block Watch, Highlanders, and Japanese Schoolgirls rages in the street
The Highlanders get ready to break into the diner to steal some grub for tonight's party
The Highlanders did a good job of protecting their turf in this dust up -- the Shell Gas Station
And then, the gangs cleared the streets - was it the sounds of sirens they heard that made them disappear?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

20mm Mirage III first jet in my modern air force

A 3-D printed 20mm scale Dassault Mirage III, painted in South African Air Force colors
The next step in my Wars of Insurgency modern skirmish rules is to create mechanisms for close air support. I am pretty happy with the helicopter rules I've playtested at conventions the last couple of years. Now, it is on to fixed-wing aircraft!

The problem with that is where to get them from in 20mm or 1/72 scale (which is close)? My first choice would have been die cast metal ones. That is, until I saw the prices not only for the planes but also the shipping ($10 on Amazon). Even though I won't need many for my battlefield, paying $30 a crack was too much in my book. Kits were available, and cheaper, yes. However, my days of assembling 50-piece model kits where you glue antennas and miscellaneous tiny fins on a model are long since past. So, what about 3-D printed ones?
This Mirage III will appear in playtests of my close-air support mechanisms for my Wars of Insurgency rules
I searched on Thingiverse, and found four that were used by the air forces of South Africa or Rhodesia. None were in the right scale, but I had been told they are relatively easy to "scale up." So, I contacted my go-to, 3-D printer guy, Joe. He said no problem, and within a week I had a Mirage III, Blackburn Buccaneer, Hawker Hunter, and propeller-driven Lynx.
Top down view of the model - you can see some of the 3-D printer pattern on the wings that I tried to sand off
I painted up the Mirage first because it was one of the smaller models (you should see how huge a Buccaneer is in 20mm scale!). After sanding the models down to make the surfaces look smoother, I spray-painted it Krylon black acrylic. I followed that up with a 50/50 mixture of black paint and water, to seep into the smallest cracks. Then I did two coats of each base color -- the leathery, khaki
color first, then the green second. I then highlighted each color in a lighter and more watered down version of each color. Details were hand-painted on -- no decals (as you can probably tell...ha, ha!). I particular like how the canopy came out. Very understated. I simply put three different colors of blue on the upper portions of the canopy, on top of the solid black color.

I am pretty happy with how this 3-D printed model turned out, and it was MUCH cheaper than either the die cast or kids. Next up, the Buccaneer!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

28mm Sarissa MDF Factory #2 Completed!

The Wangs hang out at the back doors of my latest 28mm MDF Sarissa Factory
When I cleared off the modeling desk in the spare bedroom, I knew it would make sense to begin another one of my 28mm Sarissa buildings for my urban terrain. I flipped through the five I have left from my last purchase from Wargame Tools. The motel? Nah...looks complicated! The 2-level store? Maybe. The newstands? Nah. What about the second factory? That was a quick build, and I'm going to be busy getting ready for the start of school...SURE!
The Wangs (Mega Minis) practice their moves in front of another building named after another Sunday night gamer
There are at least four different versions of the Sarissa factory, and the biggest difference with this one was that it had two sets of double garage doors on the front AND rear sides of the building. That meant you have to be a little  more careful when handling it to paint the interior and sides. The doors are made of cardstock and perforated so you can easily depict them open or closed. Several times while I was shifting my grip during the painting process, I felt the doors begin to give and separate. I wasn't too worried, as I fully intended to print off (rather than paint) them. The paper glued to the exterior and interior would strengthen them enough so I wouldn't have to worry about their strength anymore. I really like how the doors I created in Photoshop look, too. I think they're better than the ones I made for Finn's Industrial Fasteners, the first factory I built.
Who put that graffiti on the factory side wall? Well, I did...downloading Google images, cropping, and printing them out
Speaking of naming, I continued my new tradition of naming the building after one of our Sunday night gaming crew. Thus, Mike Stelzer now apparently owns a factory in Columbus (where I am setting my gang warfare games). Otherwise, I did this factory exactly like I did the first one I built -- so you can check out that entry for details on how I painted and modeled it. I changed the trim color from dark red to deep blue, but otherwise, I did it identically, other than the name, of course!
I decided to have some fun with the "Days Missed" safety sign in the factory
I decided to pose my first gang I painted next to it because they haven't appeared in any of the Urban Warfare posts, I think. That's because I actually painted them years ago for our Pulp games! They were the Order of the Fire Coral in our Southeast Asian 28mm Pulp games, using Pulp Alley rules. In the 1970s & 80s Columbus, they are the Wangs. I named them after a gang in the movie, "The Wanderers" -- which I really do need to find a copy and watch, again. Why the Wangs? Well, Rodney Dangerfield's sidekick in "Caddyshack" was named Wang, and that's a great movie from that era! They are some pretty cool poses -- all but the leader holding the pipe are from 28mm Mega Minis (who are sadly, out of business, it appears).

So, what building is next? A brewpub, in honor of our usual host on Sunday night, who brews his own beer!