Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Painted 28mm Building Ruin (DIY Build)

With the edges of Storm Frank hitting us, its a bit too dark to take decent photographs, so I'm afraid the following will have to suffice.

I've painted up the two 'ruins' that I showed in the basic construction walk through. As its been noted to me over the Internet, the ruins I'd constructed can be used for various games and settings, the only conflict to period or geographic locality being how they are painted.

I've painted them as red brick, with a lime washed rendering over the top. The bases I've left brown, for now at least. The rubble is a inexplicable grey (answers on a postcard!)

Paints used were those tester pots from Wilkos
 Shouldn't this have been a shot of the rear? Doh!
A repeat of how the basic structure was made. 

3mm Hardboard, bought from B&Q [4'x2' £3 or so]
Balsa Wood, bought from Amazon in a £6 bundle
PVA (white) wood glue & Loctite Superglue
Talus and sharp sand (the gritty type), bought from Pendraken Miniatures
plaster bricks/blocks from Pegasus Hobbies, bought over Amazon.

I used an electrical jigsaw to cut out the wooden shapes. I then used an electrical sander to smooth the edges and clean up the faces. 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Frostgrave Terrain and Construction Walk Through

Hopefully these will see use in 2016!

It all needs painting still, of course. That's the next task.

Ainsty Castings have a 20% Sale at the moment (including Frostgrave Figures), so I'll be getting a few more bits for future games.

Materials I used:
3mm Hardboard.
Balsa Wood.
Talus Grit and Sharp Sand (that's the gritty type).
PVA Wood Glue.
Loctite Superglue.
a Stone from Mother Nature.

The pointy roofed building was made out of timber.
Figures are Belt Fed Gaming - by Colonel Bills Wargames Depot
Walk Through, of sorts
Some enterprising chap (with a MDF Laser Cutter) could make a fortune selling those as flat packs!

Since I was making this lot of terrain I wanted a quick to paint up Frostgrave Warband. A small, but elite, force. No doubt it will get swamped against larger warbands in games.
28mm Midlam Miniatures

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Santa Blog Gifts 2015

First off, I need to say a big Thank You to Catherine Willey and Chris Stoesen for organising both of these bloggers events. This was my first time taking part, but it was enjoyable, easy to do and I received two great gifts in return. 

As you can see, the two photographs bear the names of the respective blogging events they belong to. The 28mm Pianist and Piano will be used to help populate my Old West games, and the 1/600 ACW boats will help me to sort out games of Hammerin' Iron or Smoke on the Water. 

Obviously, I don't know who were my Secret Santas. Whomever you are, Thank You. I very much appreciate these two gifts. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Battleground Show - Reflections on my own experience

First off, here's the link to The official Battleground Photo's over on Facebook.

I didn't take my camera with me to the show as I reckoned I'd be too busy to use it.

I'll take this opportunity to sing the praises of this show - Good venue. Good (free) car parking. Bright, airy, accessible. Good toilet facilities. Good show staff. Route sign posted and travel directions offered on-line in advance.

Right, here's a quick report on my experiences of being somebody other than a paying visitor to a show.

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At the start of November, Andrew Wylie contacted me through Facebook asking if I was going to attend Battleground, and if so, would I be interested in helping him out (the only catch being that he would need a lift to the show, there and back).

Now I don't drive, so I asked my father (my usual mode of transport) and he was fine with this arrangement. So on the day of the show we set off from our house at 06:45, to drive up into County Durham to pick Andrew up.

This is where I need to mention that I'd been down with a severe cold virus for the fortnight before the show, and it was looking dicey as to whether I would make it or not - I couldn't really not though, since we'd said we'd take Andrew with his game.

An hours drive up the A1, and then an hours drive back down until we hit the A19, eventually landing at Stockton-on-Tees, saw us reach our destination.

Inside the sports hall it was already a busy hive of activity. Games being set up, traders putting together their stalls, people rushing backwards and forwards to vehicles outside, fetching and carrying all the things that they would require to run their business or games throughout the day.

At this time there was nothing I could really do to help Andrew set up his table, after helping to bring in all of his bags containing the game it was down to him to set up the table from memory, and anything that I offered to try and do would only have been a hindrance. So, around 09:30, I went outside back to the van and had a drink and some food, coming back to the table ten minutes later to find I was still surplus to requirements, so I walked around the hall and tried to not get in the way of anyone else.

09:50, and seeing that Ainsty Castings and Warbases were ready for business, I managed to make my first purchases of the day. Going back to the table, Andrew was about ready for the show to start, so I offered to go and get him breakfast (he'd not had chance to have any at home) from the on-site cafe. Two mishaps then occurred. Firstly, the cafe had already run-out of bread buns, so bacon or sausage sandwiches were off the menu. Secondly, I went and forgot to put sugar in Andrew's coffee.

10:15, and the show had been officially open for fifteen minutes, Andrew got his game under way (a Spaghetti Western inspired Old West game, using Dead Man's Hand rules and fought over his paper terrain), with myself playing as the Lawmen. A second player swiftly joined, who would stay with us and play-out the game until the end, taking control of the Mexican Banditos, who's aim was to rob the bank in the centre of town and then make off with the loot using a horse-drawn wagon.

This is when the day began to speed by and I lost all track of time.

A young lad joined us, gaming, for a bit and I split my Lawmen force to allow him to get in on the action. Before I knew it, it was 12:30 and I was hungry, and needing to break off the action so I could take my medication and the required food I need to take with it. Now Andrew wasn't aware of this, I'd failed to mention previously my need, but luckily he called a halt to the game, I ran back to the van and got my packed-lunch and brought it back to the table, so Andrew could go off and get his own meal.

Now this is where the efforts of running a game, single-handed really, was brought home to me.

Andrew had been working at the table since 09:15, and apart from a quick dash to put sugar in his coffee (when I messed-up the one thing asked of me to do) he'd been tied to his game all morning. As part of his duties running the game, Andrew also very ably was talking to show-goers who came along and enquired as to the paper-terrain he was using, or any other general enquiry that they made. So, as sods-law would have it, instead of Andrew been able to go off for his break and his meal, he was stuck at the table still, answering questions and generally talking about the merits of paper modelling. By the time he did manage to rush off for something to eat, I'd finished my own meal and the other player had come back with his own lunch, and we were both content to sit at the table and let our food digest.

12:50, I actually managed to make a quick shopping trip, with the aid of my father watching the table, and made a couple of quick purchases from Minibits (Pendraken Miniatures) and Midlam Miniatures. That would, actually, be the last chance I had to make purchases on the day, at least while all of the trader were still operational.

[I must mention, that I believe a logistics mission had been made by the show organisers to secure a quantity of sliced bread  - hot sandwiches were back on the cafe's menu!]

13:00, Andrew back at table with his own lunch, and the game began again. Andrew juggling eating and running the game for the next hour-and-a-half. People may be asking at this point why I didn't just take over the duty of both running the game and playing the Lawmen (our young player had since departed), but in all honesty, I didn't know the rules as I hadn't played them before, and with the action being a scenario-driven game, Andrew was the best man for the job (and ultimately it was his game and any interference from me wasn't necessary).

14:30, the action in-game is coming to a dramatic conclusion. The Banditos have stolen all of the loot and transferred it to the waiting wagon outside the bank. The Lawmen are closing the cordon of guns surrounding the get-away route, however, with all the flying lead whizzing through the air (and a quick knifing suffered by a deputised civilian), a large number of both gangs are out of action. This was my only tactic of the game, kill as many Mexicans as possible and try to make them fail a Morale Test - I need to point out that the gentleman playing the Banditos did an excellent job of playing them in character, and he really did pull off some inspired tactics through the course of the game - unfortunately, for him, my Lawmen killed too many of his Mexicans before he had the chance to escape with the loot, and his Bandito gang failed a Morale Test and subsequently gave themselves up to the Marshal and his boys that were now surrounding them.

A hand-shake being offered to my unfortunate opponent, the game was officially over.

Now, time had lost all meaning to me at this point. I had been keeping an eye on the large, electronic clocks belonging the sports hall through the day, but by this point my memory fails me.

Looking up from the action on the table I'd been concentrating on for most of the show, it was only now that I was able to actually notice that a number of the other games were either packed up, or in the process of doing so. Meaning I'd missed the opportunity to see them (Andrew more so, as he'd not been able to leave the table pre-show like I had). I also spotted a number of traders doing-the-rounds, networking with their fellow businessmen and women, now that the show was down to the last few attendees and last minute purchases were scarce.

Asking Andrew if it was okay if I could walk around for a bit (he was talking to some people he knew) I managed to actually take in what was left to look at, at my leisure. This was when Stuart (of Colonel Bills) collared me, so we could conduct the outstanding business we had together, that I'd not been able to finalise with him due to being ill for the past fortnight. Meaning that was the end of my free-time.

Back at the table, between myself hovering close by, and two friends of Andrew's babysitting the table, it meant Andrew could finally conduct his shopping for the day. Also taking this opportunity, I managed to finally make contact with the groups on the very next tables, the Redcar Iron Beards (who had put on a WW2 game) and the Brompton Bankers (a Dark Age - Medieval Lion Rampant game).

Introductions made, and email left with the gaming group from Brompton, it now was time to step back to the table and help Andrew pack up. Finally something I could help him do, sort of. What I lacked in skill, I made up for in enthusiasm!

The show now being closed to the public (an event that had passed me by), the Battleground staff were packing up the hall, the last of the gamers were waiting for lifts and talking amongst themselves, the traders were closing down their stalls and transporting their stock back to the vans outside. I was left taking stock of the fact that the day had seemed to have flown by, I'd missed the chance to see most of the show, and had spent nearly nothing of the cash I'd taken with me. I was also knackered, due to a mixture of being stood for most of the day and the early start.

Back in the van, Andrew finally getting the chance to eat his midday meal, we drove back up the A19 and A1 into County Durham. Dropping Andrew home, myself and my father stopped off in a lay-by and had something to eat at around 17:00hrs. Outside it was now very dark, very wet and we were both ready to get home.

Sitting in the van, back home. I was left with the sensation that the day had gone by like a speeding tornado. It didn't seem like we'd been on the go for the best part of eleven hours. My feet ached, my throat was like a dry desert (that cold virus was back) and I was tired out. I was only thankful that I wasn't in the position of the traders who had to carry out the routine I'd just been through week-in, week-out. As I couldn't handle it!

So, to sum it up, my experience of being other than a casual show-goer. I think I'll give it a miss in future.

I know I've said I'll put on a game (should I manage it) for Shildon next year, but that show is tiny, local to me, and far more suited to my capabilities.

I missed the freedom of walking around at my leisure. Being able to stop and talk, take my time and do as I pleased. Being tied down to the table wasn't an issue, but being focused upon it for most of the day meant that I, surprisingly, missed what was going on around me, and the show in general, so I didn't feel like I'd been at a show at all.

That said, mind, I'd not have missed the opportunity to help Andrew out, as it allowed me to view the hobby from another perspective and to gain experience that I would never have been able to gain otherwise. It was also the first game that I'd played against a real opponent in over ten years!

So, I really need to offer Andrew a big Thank You for having me along, and also to the Battleground Show staff for providing us with such a great event.

I think the easiest way to explain what it is like to attend such an event, in the capacity of a trader or someone involved in a game, is to borrow this popular phrase ... "A dog is for life. Not just for Christmas." It is tiring, ties you down, and takes up a lot of your attention.

It does provide you with some good memories, however.