Back from Cold Wars

March 19, 2018

Got back from Cold Wars yesterday in the early afternoon.  Early you say?  That bad?  Well no.  It was an interesting event with some odd changes.

  1. The Host.  You know you are dying to hear about it.   Construction is going at a good pace.  There was a lot of stone work done on the exterior of the building.  There are doors where their once were no doors.  There are windows where their once were no windows.  The tennis barn, for instance, has a huge pane of windows on the front letting in much natural light.  The side effect is that the barn is now quite warm!  Some of the space has been walled off.  The space outside the HAWKs room, for instance, has been walled off to make another room.  The finished rooms are quite nice.  They are as nice as some of the nicer hotels.  Ours, however, did not have a phone and at one point some workers had to come in to fix a problem with the cable.
  2. Food: The general food situation is about the same as before.  You could get tacos and burritos throughout the day from the upstairs station.  Downstairs was still serving the usual fair of cold sandwiches and hot dogs as well as coffee, soft drinks and even beer!  The kitchen food was a large disappointment.  The breakfast was merely OK.  It has been better in the past.  The dinner at the bar was a complete disaster though.  I ordered a burger cooked medium.  It came out well.  I would have sent it back had I not been pressed for time.  My friend got the prime rib sandwich, which in the past, is quite tasty.  His came out as a thick, tough slice of meat well overcooked.  I heard others complain the same about the food in the kitchen.  That was the only non-breakfast meal I ordered from the bar.
  3. There were plenty of games going on.  Lots of interesting and beautiful games.  The HAWKs room remained very busy on Friday and Saturday.  Even on Saturday night, Distilfink room (the huge ball room) seemed to have every gaming table full.  I’d not seen that in several years.  Sunday was another matter and perhaps the big reason I left early.  There was not a single game going on when I walked around at 9:30am Sunday morning.  I did see one gentleman in the big room with some Star Wars stuff including an AT-AT but it looked more like he was just inventorying or repairing than setting up a game.  HAWKs room also seemed to have just one game setup.

It was a good time and I enjoyed seeing my friends who came from as far as Indiana.  I understand that 2017 will be the last year of conventions at the Host.  It seems HMGS-East and the new owners of the Host could not come to an agreement for future conventions.  From what I’ve heard, all HMGS conventions will be held at a Marriott (I think) in downtown Lancaster.  The last HMGS convention in the Host will be Fall-In 2018.

Battles of WWII by Osprey Publishing

December 7, 2017

I found two great books from Osprey Publishing this past fall at Southern Front in North Carolina.  The books are reprints from a set of older titles.  The first is on Libya in 1940, dealing with the Italian invasion and subsequent retreat to the Libyan frontier.  The second covers Rommel’s opening moves and carries the reader through Operation Battle Ax.

As usual, the books are well illustrated with maps and period photos though with fewer artist illustrations than more current Osprey Titles.  The summaries of the fighting are well written and very easy to read and follow.

In the section illustrating the armies, there are some fairly detailed orders of battle for the various combatants.  These OOBs are book specific with the Germans only appearing in the Tobruk book.  As an extra surprise, the bok on Libya has a small section in the back with wargaming ideas for gaming the campaign.  Both enjoyable reads and well worth picking up.

A New Thing to Occupy my Time.

May 25, 2017

I’ve been frequenting The Wargames Website over the past few days.  I quite like what I see.  The site appears to be built off of canned software.  There is a news feed as well as a post role so you can see the latest posts in the various message boards.  The boards in the forum are logically divided and are easy to use.  Some board seem to nest below a parent board for organization purposes.  The site has a small but relatively active community.  While there is a “general” set of boards, these seem to stick to topics that are at least tangentially related to gaming.  I’ve noticed a few familiar faces who are expats from TMP.  Folks seem to be well mannered and friendly.  In short, the editor of the site has produced a nice product.  I hope the community grows in time to provide a vibrant gaming forum experience that I once knew.

Some things you just can’t ignore…

May 22, 2017

There is the latest in the summertime dust-ups at The Miniatures Page (TMP).  I’ve largely insulated myself from such events by not activating the TMP Talk and TMP Poll Suggestions.  I was blissfully unaware of this latest event until long time TMP’r Phil Dutre gave his fare-thee-well post on the site.   Mostly it is standard fare with the usual posts of support and regret of the person leaving and several who voiced their displeasure with TMP.  What is striking about this post is the number of deletions.  I doubt this was done by the posters themselves but seems to be a bit of censorship on the part of the editor.  I’ve read the thread before the deletions and can tell you that the posts in question were NOT offensive.  4 of the members are supporting members.  I find this action crosses the line, for me anyway.  To censor such benign posts simply because you don’t agree with them is both a pointless exercise and is simply wrong on many levels.  This revelation makes me wonder if I should continue being a supporting member.  I’ve been a TMP member since December of 2000.  I’ve been a supporting member since 2001.  While the site has had it’s ups and downs, it has provided a service in the past.  It has become more and more convoluted over the years.  There are too many boards and TMP tries to cover way too many subjects.    Far too much granularity in the subjects it is supposed to cover.

I will miss Phil, Weasel and others who have recently departed the forum.  I think the behavior on the Editors [art serves nobody well, himself and his business included.  Far too much drama.

I’ve had a Lead Adventures Forum account for a while now but have only posted a couple of times.  Seems to be a decent group of folks there.  I may try them on for size.

sdkfz.10 final build…sort of

February 25, 2017

The last couple of days have not been idle.  I painted up a few figures and am currently working on the motorcycles by Zvezda.  Plastic Soldier company has a deal for 11 motorcycles for about $38.  It works out to $3.50 per machine.  Not bad.  They will be filling out the motorcycle units for the DAK forces.  Below are a couple of pics, not only of the first nearly completed cycle but also the detailed version of the sdkfz.10 card model I’ve been working on.

Front view.  Both need some paint touch up and perhaps a few more details on the motorcycles.

Front view. Both need some paint touch up and perhaps a few more details on the motorcycles.

The rear side view.  I think the half track came out pretty darned good!

The rear side view. I think the half track came out pretty darned good!

I am getting ready to design a CMP 15cwt truck.  There was a 1/87 scale version of the truck by Best Paper Models.  Their site was hacked a couple of years ago.  They’ve since entered an agreement with Betexa, another company who sells paper models.  Sadly, only 20 of their models have been uploaded so far and none of them are the CMP.  I’ve been waiting patiently for about 6 months.  The CMP does not look too difficult to design.  So…

This is about the cleanest blueprint I’ve seen to date.  I’m looking forward to this one.

All (not so) Quiet

February 17, 2017

I have not been posting but have been a little busy over the past week.  The little General wanted me to build a Tiger Tank.  I rescaled Rawan’s Tiger I from 1:100 scale.  I think it came out well.  The other thing I’ve been doing is working on a sdkfz.10 artillery tractor.  Pictured on the right, it is the white template.  No tracks or wheels yet.  But those are pretty easy to do anyway.  I do need to adjust the front fenders, widening them and fixing the length.


Side by side.  The half track is tiny!

Tiger Gun barrel is the length of a toothpick minus the tapered ends. 7/8″ of paper was wrapped twice followed by 7/16″ width of paper wrapped 3 times to get the tapered look of the gun. The muzzle break is 1/8″ of a medium kabob skewer.  The half track took me about 3 days to get to this point. I suspect I will have a detailed version this weekend.

The total build time of the Tiger was about 3 hours.  I think it took me about 1 hour to get the half track built to that point.  Maybe another half hour for tracks and wheels.

EDIT Here is the half track with wheels and tracks.  When I printed it out, I realized I forgot to duplicate the wheel.  Fortunately, there was a spare from my sdkfz.231 sitting on the table.

Wheels and tracks.

Wheels and tracks.

A Horch by Any Other Name…

February 6, 2017

One of those models that is most useful for any WW2 German Army is the Horch 108 as either the Type 1A or the Type 40.  The models used to be produced by Dragon and two in 1/72 scale could be had for about $20.  While not great, it was affordable.   Those, however, don’t seem to be in production anymore.  There is a MAC model (I think) but the price is at least $20 for just 1.  So, this weekend, I took it upon myself to make my own card model. Completely original work.  The following picks show only the template.  The details still need to be added to the model but the general shape is there.  The only thing missing really is the front bumper. I am thinking I need to widen the front fenders a little too.


An early prototype from Saturday. It was an exercise in understanding how the hood was supposed to angle and fold. Mostly pretty easy.

An early prototype from Saturday. It was an exercise in understanding how the hood was supposed to angle and fold. Mostly pretty easy.

A final build with all adjusted parts. The front fenders look a bit thin. I will either thin the wheels in the front or widen the fenders slightly. Front bumper still needs to be added.

A final build with all adjusted parts. The front fenders look a bit thin. I will either thin the wheels in the front or widen the fenders slightly. Front bumper still needs to be added.

My son said I needed to add the roof.  I was originally going to leave the roof off and add the folded ridge in the back.  He said he wanted it to look more like a truck.  Who is to argue with the little General, right?  Total build time of the final model was about 2 hours.  That could go more quickly with an assembly line.

Quick progress update

January 21, 2017

Well, nothing “quick” about the build.  Just the update.  Here is the car minus the wheels.  The gun looks a bit long and thick.  I should have trusted my instincts and gone shorter and a thinner piece of plastruct.  Oh well.  Fun build if not a bit tedious and time consuming.

Just need to add wheels. I will keep much of the fine detail off as it is a wargame piece and will be handled a lot.

Just need to add wheels. I will keep much of the fine detail off as it is a wargame piece and will be handled a lot.


Sdkfz 222 start

January 20, 2017

Here’s a quick update with a couple of pictures of the Sdkfz 222 model from Paper Tiger Armaments.


The front fenders were a bit tricky if only because there were no guide marks on the model. You have to eyeball the placement. The reference picture that comes with the model was a big help.

The chassis and body were easy enough to assemble. It was only 2 pieces.

The Secret to Getting Stuff Done

January 20, 2017

Part of my “block” clearly was my feeling of being overwhelmed by the two main projects I have going right now.  Rapid Fire demands some moderate forces.  If you want to game the Siege of Tobruk, you needs a fair few figures.  I don’t know that I will ever get to that level but even the more moderate sized forces seem a bit daunting, especially since I am using card models for my vehicles.

I’ve broken my build process down by unit and am currently trying to stay focused on the early part of the Desert War.  To that end, I am starting with the 5th Light Division and it’s recon battalion.  It does require about 13 figures, 3 armored cards, a pair of combo motorcycles 2 kubelwagons, a half track, 2 heavy cars, an infantry gun and a PAK 36 AT gun.  I’ve already  built 3 kubelwagons.  The third can either be used in the motorcycle infantry battalion or as part of the later era recon battalion.  I have all the infantry though I need a 5cm mortar and one anti-tank rifle.  Both, I believe I can scratch built out of plastruct and card.  Junior General has an ATR.  I can try cutting one out just the stock and replace the barrel with a thin piece of plastruct.  The 5cm Mortar is really a tube, a base plate and a very small kick stand.  It is not very different from the British 2″ mortar.  Probably only the stand.  I’ve already posted a picture of the kubelwagen.  I am currently working on an sdkfz 222. The OB also calls for a 221 which only has an MG and has a smaller turret.  I may just make them both 222s and not worry about the small turret.  I can even make an alternate turret in case I want two 222s.

The final bit is the Horch 108 type 40 heavy car.  I cannot find a card model for it.  I believe Best Paper Models had one in 1/48 scale but it has not been posted to their new site yet.  In fact, they only have posted about 20 of their more than 500 or so models so far.  They are moving slowly.  So, I will probably be venturing into the world of card model design.  The Horch is relatively square.  The hood should have rounded edges to make it look somewhat authentic.  That will probably be the hardest part of this effort.  I think I can do it though.

I started working on a Valentine tank, another not represented by a card model.  That is a later era desert tank though.  It shall sit on the back burner for a while, along with my M-3 Grants.