Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gunships and sloops

During my time of solitude, I managed to paint up a couple of small Flagship Games resin vessels - just the ticket for a band of pirates starting out on a career of pillagin' and plunderin'.

I bought the Flagship Games starter set, which if memory serves came with the rules, a gunship, a sloop, two cannon and two war machines. The gunship and the sloop are quite nice models, perfectly sized for the "small" category in Legend of the High Seas. All they need is a little cleaning, a nice paint job, and some minor work on the masts and they are ready to go. I did not put sails on them yet. I am not sure if I will or not. The sails really do make the models look better, but they do get in the way of gaming. Eventually, I will probably give in and make sails for them, but not for the time being. (BTW, Flagship Games products are currently available from Scale Creep Miniatures.)

The sloop

A closer view

The gunship

A closer view

Here's a comparison shot showing a kitbashed sloop from the Pressman game Weapons & Warriors beside the Flagship Games sloop. Pretty close, and in all honesty, while the W&W sloop can be found pretty inexpensively, it requires quite a bit more work to make it look like a model and not a toy. At least, it does to get it looking the way I want it to. More details on the W&W game and converting the toys to models in a future post.

W&W sloop (left), Flagship Games sloop (right)

'Til next time.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fire as she bears!

Today I'll post some pictures of cannon I've modified from the extremely oversized Weapons & Warriors game by Pressman. Actually, the cannon themselves aren't too bad, but the carriages they come on are atrocious for scale figures. All they need is to replace the horrendous oversized carriages with something a bit more in scale, and they actually look pretty good, in my opinion.

W&W cannon on custom carriages (bottom), beside a Flagship Games culverin and an unmodified W&W cannon (top).

Here they are with some figures for comparison.
The only drawback is that they are a little labor intensive, in that I make each carriage by hand from scrap pieces of balsa. If I had more experience, or any experience for that matter, with casting in resin, I'd maybe go that route. It would certainly go quicker making a master carriage, making a mold and casting as many as I need. I have something like 20 plus of the original plastic cannon, so anything I can do to speed up the process would be beneficial.

Hmmm, something new to experiment with that will set back my other projects by weeks...

'Til next time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A wealth of posts

What? Nothing for two years and now three posts in three days?!? What gives?

Well, as I mentioned a couple of days ago I was able to complete, or get close to completing, several projects during the time of my separation from my family. Over the next few posts, I will share some of those projects.

First up, I finally managed to paint myself a crew of scurvy sea dogs (or at least the beginnings of a crew as I have only 13 members so far not counting the monkey!). They are a mix of Black Scorpion, Privateer Press and Games Workshop figures.

My captain and powder monkey

The captain is Mad Jim Jones from Black Scorpion and the powder monkey comes from the Games Workshop Empire State Handgunner set.
Some of the lads.

These came from a boxed set of Privateer Press Sea Dogs. As did the next three (all I did was remove the goggles from the bald rogue on the left):

Scurvy swashbucklers
The rest of the boys are Games Workshop Empire Militia with some Warhammer 40k Catachan heads thrown in for variety (several can be seen prior to painting here):

Yer basic Plastic Pirates!
Yet more plastic pirate goodness.
Later this week I'll try to post some images of vessels, since what good are pirates without a pirate ship?

'Til next time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On my reading table

This is what I've been up to in terms of reading:

No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II I recently finished the final book in Jeff Shaara's World War II trilogy: No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first two (The Rising Tide and The Steel Wave). This one had a very different tone however. While the others seemed almost to reflect an Allied mentality of being on a mission or crusade, in this one the main non-officer characters seemed more, I don't know, human maybe, or perhaps a little darker. They definitely expressed their fears and their loathing for the German atrocities, and to me they were perhaps a bit less sympathetic, albeit maybe more honest. I guess the basic reality is that some fought out of a sense of duty and righteousness, some simply out of a desire to survive the conflict, and others out of a need to punish those who perpetrated one of the greatest evils in history.

The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453 After that I read Desmond Seward's The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453. Very quick read, general overview of the conflict. Seward paints the picture of the war in broad brush strokes, but stops when he gets to pivotal moments (Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers) to give more detail. All in all a very good introduction to the political and military causes and realities of the war.

Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart Right now, I am currently reading a biography of Confederate cavalry hero J.E.B. Stuart by Jeffry D. Wert: Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart. I have not gotten into the Civil War years yet, but I've read about his childhood, his years at West Point and on the Western frontier as a cavalry officer. The author does a good job of blending Stuart's personal and professional lives. So far, though, Stuart's character has not yet been fully developed. I am looking forward to more as we get to the crucial years of his life.

Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain Up next is a total change of pace: Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain. I grew up in New York, a Yankees fan in the 70s, and Thurman was my childhood hero. He was larger than life to me, and I remember clearly the day that he died. My mom called me in to break the news and it was like losing a member of the family. I am very eager to read Appel's take on Munson's life and career.

FYI, in the interest of full disclosure, the hyperlinks and images for the books will take you to the Amazon.com website entry for that particular title, where you can find additional information. Also, if you decide to buy the book, and do it through that link, I get a small kickback from Amazon.

'Til next time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm Back

Wow - it's been well over two years since I last posted on my blog!

That absence can best be explained by - life happens! At the time of my last post, I'd been unemployed for nine months. Since that time. I accepted a job in a city 600 miles away, moved myself (without family, as we were unable to sell our house) to said new city and began a new career. I devoted myself to learning a new job in a new industry and working my tail off, as I was suddenly the "new guy" again.

After nine months of living alone, we managed to sell the house back in Maryland, and we were able to buy a new home in Atlanta and move my family down to be together again. In the year and four months since that time, I've worked even harder, continuing to learn as much as I can and do as much as I can at work, but now while working to take the best possible care of my family and make up for those nine months spent apart.

Obviously, gaming has suffered. During the nine months of living alone, I was able to tackle (and most surprisingly) complete some gaming projects. Nothing major, but at my glacial speed of painting/modeling, it was darn near miraculous. Now that I am once again a full-time husband/dad with a full-time job, my gaming time has dwindled. Don't get me wrong - I would not trade either for more "me" time, but the facts are as they are.

So, I now content myself with even smaller projects, working on warbands for the excellent Songs of Blades and Heroes skirmish rules by Ganesha Games and whatever else strikes my fancy at the time. I am a "flitterer" - flitting from project to project, genre to genre - and the end result is that my table is covered with half-finished, half-painted figures and terrain. I have come to accept that fact about myself, and it no longer makes me crazy. Eventually, some projects will get completed while others will continue to gather dust. And for me, that is okay. I do not game regularly, so my painting and modeling serve one purpose - to amuse me. As long as that happens, I am happy.

As for the blog, my ambitious plans are likely to never be achieved - bi-weekly (or even monthly) in-depth posts detailing every aspect of my latest scheme are unreasonable, especially in light of the fact that many weeks I don't even get a chance to work on said projects.

But I do plan to continue dropping in from time to time and sharing my thoughts and some photos (starting with replacing the pic of the primed white pirate at top right on my blog with a photo of one of my, finally!, painted pirated crew). Hope to see you back as well!