Tuesday, October 31, 2023

More Post-Apocalyptic (Wrecked Cars & Dead Trees)

    Mantic Games resin wrecked vehicles painted up rusted and dilapidated for post-apoc games
With Advance the Colors 2023 behind me, I now seem to have more time for finishing up things I'd begun (or wanted to start on) earlier. First and foremost were four wrecked vehicles that I want to use for scatter scenery in my post-apocalyptic games. I picked them up at the Guardtower East during one of our monthly Saga game days. 

 Biggest complaint was that the window for the back up the pickup had to be glued in and didn't fit
These were made of a gray resin or plastic and came with two pickup trucks and two cars. Each type was identical, and the pickup required one piece of assembly. The back window of the pickup needed glued into place with the truck's bed. Only it wasn't that simple. Try as I might, I simply couldn't get it to fit smoothly. There had obviously been some warping or distortion that went on in the casting process. I ended up having to epoxy the windows into place as close I could. I then filled the gaps with green stuff. I was fairly happy with how I did with the green stuff. It is definitely something I am still a learner on.

    The models come dented to simulate a wreck, but all the rust and wear and tear was painted on
I spray painted each vehicle with Krylon matte black, following it up with my usual 50/50 acrylic black paint and water. I then epoxied it to a styrene plastic base, though I was tempted to leave it un-based and free standing. It might even look better on the tabletop that way, but I detest holding onto things while painting something, with the chance of rubbing off paint. Or paint the bottom and then painting the top. Basing something up and holding onto that base is always preferable.

    The windows are solid, so I used my brushwork to make them look broken and busted, too
Next, I did the base color for all four vehicles, leaving black gaps in the seams of the body panels, doors, etc. I'm not sure why I went with brighter colors for the vehicles over the trucks, but I did. I followed this with a dry brush of white or lighter color of the base. Next, I did a three part rust effect, beginning with a dark brown, adding in patches of a rusty, leathery brown, and then finishing it off with an orange clay color. Since the windows were solid, I had to paint cracks to make them look busted up, too. I painted the chrome areas a steel color, then pewter and silver highlights. Of course, each vehicle got a dark black wash to look appropriately abandoned and dirty.

    3-D printed trees from Rusty Parker of Jarls Workshop. I decided to make them "dead" for post-apoc
The next thing I finished off were two 3-d printed trees that I'd picked up as prizes from the Hold the Line Saga tournament in Port Clinton, OH. Rusty Parker of Jarl's Workshop printed them off and had numerous ones he'd painted up for terrain for the tournament. He had flocked them to look like trees in bloom, but I thought their bare branches would make them excellent dead trees to add to the smaller ones I'd painted up earlier. In a post-apocalyptic landscape, the dead trees at a nice desolate vibe.

    Closeup of the one of the dead trees with my 28mm Planet of the Apes gorillas patrolling nearby
These were very easy to get ready for the tabletop! I simply spray painted them black, did my usual 50/50 acrylic follow up, and then dry brushed them. I applied the first dry brush thickly -- more of a "wet brush." I used the Camo Brown from Howard Hues. Next, I did a dry brush of Howard Hues Khaki. A black wash finished them out, and they were ready for flocking. There is an area between the branches that looks like vegetation, so I flocked that with Woodland Scenics "Burnt Grass" flocking. Otherwise, I did a fine brown ballast around the roots and applied a Turf Earth over top of that. A couple more patches of burnt grass and some tufts, and they were done. Of course, they are taller than the box which I stored my smaller dead trees would hold! I will sit them on their sides until I think of a better idea.

    The smaller dead trees in back are from Mantic Games' Terrain Crate line, 'Gothic Grounds'

These two mini-projects took less time each than a normal batch of Saga miniatures, so it was nice to feel they were painted up quickly! Hopefully, the speedy progress will continue!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Three Warlords that "Got Away"

    The first of the three warlord stands using Gripping Beast's Godfrey of Bouillon miniature
This year, I continued the tradition of painting up and giving away warlord stands for my Saga tournaments at Advance the Colors 2023. I ended up giving away six stands worth -- three were posted earlier. Here are my final three, finished literally the day before I had to pack up everything to take to ATC. Everyone who got one has said they appreciated the prize, and I've seen on Facebook that some have even been used in battle already! That's great to see.

    A Muslim general painted up with leftover miniatures I had from my Gripping Beast Moorish army
I like to pick up the figures I use for them at the Historicon booth of Cotton Jim's Flags. He always seems to have some Gripping Beast metal miniatures on discount. If I'm buying something to give away, it only makes sense to reduce what I pay. Somehow, I was able to reduce the time it took me to paint this batch of nine miniatures. I finished them and created their banners in Photoshop in about half the time the previous batch took me. Of course, deadline pressure sometimes can do that!

    I used Gripping Beast's 'Attila the Hun' miniature and a 'Saxon Warlord" for this Eastern warlord
I really liked how all three came out, and I hope those who won them feel the same, too. I tried to paint a variety of nationalities so people could find something they had an army to match. At the same time, I tried to paint them relatively generically so that they would fit with more than one army. 

So, look for these three stands being used in games of Saga somewhere, sometime...!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Warlords Gather from Near and Far to Battle at Advance the Colors 2023


    We had 24 players on Saturday for the 'Age of Melee' tournament and 14 on Friday for Ancients
Earlier this year, I decided to add a second Saga tournament at Advance the Colors. Joining Saturday's open "Age of Melee" tourney would be an "Age of Ancients" one on Friday. My hope was that players from further away might be willing to come for the weekend if they could be guaranteed two days of Saga fun. Judging from where some of our attendees drove or flew in from, I would have to call it a success.

    For many, it was their first time facing the multiple elephants of Daniel B's Indian army
I had players attend from South Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Two were international from Toronto, Canada. We also had our usual players from Ohio and Indiana (and even one from Michigan, this time). I had 14 for Ancients (Age of Hannibal and Alexander books), and 24 for Age of Melee. Of my 14 participants on Friday, 11 of them also played on Saturday. So, on a technicality, we DID grow from last year's 24 players (having 27 unique participants). I was hoping Saturday's tourney would break into the 30s, but who knows? Maybe next year!

    Dan Neal's Persians won "Best Painted" on Friday in the Age of Ancients tournament
I think Age of Ancients is a valid choice for a theme tournament. It will be made even better when Age of Caesars is released (2024?). I think I counted 9 of the 14 were "Greek-ish," whether actual Greek Cities, Graeculi, or Successors. There was only one Republican Roman player and no Carthaginian, Numidian, Iberian, Thracian, etc. That was a tiny disappointment -- I like seeing a variety of armies at a tournament. We did have Indians and Persians, though. I don't think that's surprising, though, as both armies are highly regarded among experienced Saga players. 

    Bob Boggs' Asiatic Successor army went 3-0 and won Friday's 'Age of Ancients'

I did my usual dividing of players into two pools -- a "local" and "visitors." My reasoning for this is to ensure players face as many opponents that they usually don't game with as possible. Thus, winning "local" players would face winning "visitors" in the second round, and the same for ones who lost. There was a little bit of fudging, of course. The locals were outnumbered by the visitors (which is a good thing because the more people come from far away the more it means we're growing!). So, I co-opted my friend Jason from South Carolina onto the home team as he grew up in Ohio. Rusty and James joined the locals, even though they don't usually play against our Saga Ohio players. You get the picture, though. I was happy that I was able to keep the home vs. visitor matchups going pretty much through all three rounds.

    Anthony Adams, left, had a very successful weekend going 5-1. He plays Lowell & his Graeculi
I had a ton of prize support. Gripping Beast shipped in boxes of miniatures from England. The ever-generous Jeff Gatlin of Shieldwall Gaming provided lots of prize support, both miniatures and gift certificates. Cotton Jim Flags sent four Saga books. Father and Son Gaming donated MDF Saga measuring sticks. Sword & Scabbard Games donated two sets of their unique sets of 3-D printed markers for Saga. Arriving after I'd left for Springfield and ATC were six very generous gift certificates from Badger Games. I sent them to the top three finishers of each tournament electronically, so they go double prizes! And of course, Saga Ohio (in this case, me!) donated six custom-painted warlord stands. I also shelled out some of my own money to make sure everyone got a prize by purchasing stuff from the vendors present at ATC 2023.

    Lots of smiles and Saga action going on amongst the tables at Advance the Colors
How did the tournaments turn out? They went VERY well, according to the feedback from my players and my own judgement. Most the players went out of their way to thank me and praise how the tournaments ran, which was very gratifying. I'd spent many, many hours preparing for this weekend. The fact that all seemed to have a good time makes it worthwhile, and gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. I fully realize that the Saga tournaments at ATC are among the largest in the United States. It speaks to the dedication of our local Saga Ohio players and the camaraderie with the Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis contingents from neighboring Indiana. Without those guys, our tournaments would lose some of their luster, and I thank them for their continued support of events here in Ohio.

    James Tolbert's Greek Cities: Spartans hurl themselves upon their Gallic opponents
Here are the full results of the Age of Ancients tournament on Friday. The battles we played were, Rescue the Hostages (my own adaption of a scenario we played this summer at Historicon), Desecration, and Clash of Warlords. Congratulations to Bob Boggs and his Asiatic Successors army for winning the tournament!

  1. Bob Boggs, Asiatic Successors, 3-0 (88 points)

  2. Dan Neal, Median Persian, 3-0 (61 points)

  3. Anthony Adams, Greek Cities: Spartan, 2-1 (40 points)

  4. Edgar Gillock, Greek Cities: Athens, 2-1 (40 points)
  5. Jason Mirosavich, Indian, 2-1 (30 points)

  6. James Tolbert, Greek Cities: Sparta, 1-1-1 (48 points)

  7. Scott McPheeters, Achaemenid Persian, 1-1-1 (37 points)

  8. Lowell Lufkin, Graeculi: Syracuse, 1-2 (71 points)

  9. Jim Deppen, Republican Romans, 1-2 (67 points)

  10. Doug Dunn, Gauls, 1-2 (65 points)

  11. Shea Dunn, Gauls, 1-2 (55 points)

  12. Andy Swingle, Greek Cities: Athens, 1-2 (49 points)

  13. Charlie Clay, Greek Cities: Athens, 1-2 (37 points)

  14. Rusty Parker, Graeculi: Epirote, 0-3 (52 points)

    The Ancient armies looked great on the tabletop, and the players seemed to really enjoy the theme
Best painted army was won by Dan Neal, who received a $25 gift certificate from Shieldwall Gaming. Dan also went 3-0, but was out-pointed by his gaming buddy Bob. So, it was an appropriate consolation, imagine.

    Ed G drove from Tennessee for the convention and plays against Andy S - founder of Saga Ohio
Saturday was the bigger day for participants, of course. My Age of Melee tournament began at ATC in 2021 with 16 players. Last year, we had 24 players, and this year we equaled that with another two dozen. I have to remember to ask for more space next year because if we had any more players, I would have had to scrounge extra tables from the convention staff! 

    Top tables in the final round: Anthony vs. Joe D (Huns vs. Mongols!) left, and Charlie vs. Shea
Here are the full results for the Age of Melee tournament, below. The winner was Shea Dunn, who drove down with his dad Doug. Shea was playing Irish and was entering his FIRST TOURNAMENT EVER! The 23-year-old has been playing less than a year, and overcame staunch opposition to come out on top of a pile that included many, many winners of previous tournaments. I have to admit, it was hard not to pull for "the kid" -- especially since he's such a nice guy who always has a smile and is there to have fun. Best painted was Charlie Clay with his Persians. Charlie has been the true Saga nomad enthusiast, traveling around the country for work and bringing his Saga armies with him. He seeks out games with local clubs and has become quite the ambassador for the game. Charlie won a 4-point Gripping Beast Gallic starter army box from Shieldwall Games. Congrats to both Shea and Charlie!

    Beautiful armies, beautiful banners, and lots of spectacle on the tabletop throughout the two days!

  1. Shea Dunn, Irish, 3-0 (116 points)

  2. Anthony Adams, Huns, 3-0 (99 points)

  3. Lee Parker, Milites Christi, 2-0-1(85 points)

  4. Jason Mirosavich, Scots, 2-1 (86 points)

  5. Charlie Clay, Achaemenid Persians, 2-1 (82 points)

  6. Jim Randall, Byzantines, 2-1 (79 points)

  7. Scott McPheeters, Irish, 2-1 (78 points)

  8. Jim Deppen, Welsh, 2-1 (78 points)

  9. Joe Dihrkop, Mongols, 2-1 (72 points)

  10. Eric Morrow, Greek Cities: Spartans, 2-1 (68 points)

  11. Edgar Gillock, Anglo-Saxon, 1-1-1 (71 points)

  12. Daniel Broaddus, Indian, 1-1-1 (67 points)

  13. Mike Zajchowski, Carolingian, 1-1-1 (67 points)

  14. Dan Neal, Baltic Crusaders, 1-1-1 (65 points)

  15. Bob Boggs, Byzantines, 1-2 (78 points)

  16. Doug Dunn, Gauls, 1-2 (74 points)

  17. Jason Stelzer, Romans (AOI), 1-2 (72 points)

  18. Benjamin Barber, Pagan Peoples, 1-2 (66 points)

  19. Phil Keifer, Welsh, 1-2 (64 points)

  20. Dave Eblin, Romans (AOI), 1-2 (44 points)

  21. Joseph Merz, Gauls, 0-2-1 (72 points)

  22. Mark A. Bishop, Franks, 0-2-1 (49 points)

  23. Lowell Lufkin, Anglo-Saxon, 0-2-1 (48 points)

  24. Karen Metz, Viking, 0-3 (64 points)

    What Saga is all about -- two warbands striving to overcome each other on the battlefield!
A special thanks to my "odd-man out," Joe Merz, who cheerfully volunteered to be my extra in case I had an odd number of players. I didn't need him on Friday, but I did on Saturday, and appreciated his stepping in and playing. 

    The thing I enjoy most about a tournament is seeing all the armies arrayed & meeting the people
There have been a LOT of tournaments in our area this year, but there IS one more. Those who can make it to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, can participate in the Rumble on the Rivers. Join the always-fun Ft. Wayne group and our Saga Ohio contingent who will be heading over to join them. Here's the link for the convention.  

    The somber, black-clad Hospitallers of Lee Parker's Milites Christi held down 3rd place Saturday
I hope you enjoy the pictures of the beautifully painted armies the players brought. It was a pleasure for me just to walk around and admire them. Thanks to all the players who attended, and to HMGS Great Lakes for providing us the venue for our third annual tournament(s).

    Anthony's Huns vs. Joe's Mongols -- lots of horses riding to and fro on the battlefield!

    Charlie's best-painted Persians take on an elephant in the Age of Melee tournament
    "For Sparta!" Greek Cities of both Athenian & Spartan variety proved very popular all weekend

    Greeks vs. Gauls -- historical matchups were common in Friday's 'Age of Ancients' tourney
    Republican Romans feeling awfully lonely in a field of Greeks, Greeks, and more Greeks!

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Some Miniature Building Authority (MBA) Middle Eastern buildings

    Two resin buildings from Miniature Building Authority - including a shawarma shop!
I have been so busy that I have had little chance to update this blog, lately. There are a number of things that I have finished off in my "crunch time" before Advance the Colros 2023. One of those has been a pair of Middle Eastern buildings from the quality resin terrain line Miniature Building Authority. I chose two small buildings in a vain, last-ditch attempt to get all of what I bought from MBA at last ATC completed before this one rolled around!


    The shawarma shop on the left is named after my friend Andy, of course!
One of the buildings is their "Ice Cream Shop." Of course, being me, I decided to change things up. I made it a Shawarma stand. I like to name my buildings after my gaming friends, so my buddy Andy got the honors on this one! In hindsight, I wish I had colored the background of the signs. As I mentioned, I have been pressed for time of late so ended up cutting a corner here. Still, I like the way the building came out. MBA makes high quality buildings and their line of Middle Eastern buildings are top notch.

Metal bits were done in a steel color with pewter highlights, but otherwise, these were quick to paint!
These were very easy to paint. I spray painted them black first. Then I dry brushed them with a medium brown color from Howard Hues called "Camo Brown.? I added in successive highlight colors of Khaki and white. I finally picked out wood and metal highlights. But honestly, these buildings paint up so quickly that you'll get them ready for your tabletop in no time at all!

    I highly recommend buildings from Miniature Building Authority!
The other building is called "Small Middle Eastern Building II" on the MBA website. It is a good example of their two-part ruined buildings. The top 2/3's of the building lifts off, leaving a ruined foundation and stubble of walls on all four sides. When you place the top back on, the crack delineating the join between the two pieces looks very natural. It's a great way to get two buildings, essentially, for the price of one. It was painted exactly as the other building and should look good for my modern games. What's more, I think it will look fine for even Sci-Fi games. So many of the Star Wars movies feature that desert look, and I think these will go perfect for that period, as well...