Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Year in Review

I'm shamelessly stealing the idea for a review from an acquaintance over on the Oldhammer Forums. I suppose it's related to what I was already doing with a fleet review, which at one time was intended to be on my birthday, which is conveniently near this time of year. But since the fleet review has been co-opted by the Imperial Coronation and the fleet doesn't really include the oldhammer and other modeling activities (I'll spare you the symphonic and poetic) a modeling year in review seems a fantastic idea.

This has been a productive year. I apparently built or painted somewhat more than three dozen ships and boats, likely a comparable number of figures, a few vehicles, a wide variety of buildings in a couple of scales, and even a little bit of terrain. Not a record breaking year, but a good one.

1/2400 industrial structures

KM armored cruisers built on commission

Graf Spee built on commission

RN cruisers on commission

Allied oilers and tankers

(The island is old, but papa's got a brand new wharf.)

Allied merchants

USS Atlanta

Imperial Japanese merchant and auxiliary shipping

The Royal Australian Navy


Oldhammer and Ramshackle Miniatures

Terrain for Moab III

Next year I'd like to

A. Paint my backlog of 1/2400 ships. This is unlikely, but I have only HAD a backlog for about a year and a half now. I don't like having broken my new rule (don't buy new ships until the old ones are painted) but a fire sale with unbeatable prices weakened me. I want very much to fix that.

B. I'd like a few new buildings for Logansport. A bar would be good. Maybe also a temple. Quite possibly a brothel.

C. The Lace Rock Gang needs a spaceship. A small one, to be sure, but a useful one.

D. The Lace Rock Gang needs a rock. Which is to say they need a home operating base.

E. A little further progress on the genestealer and elf armies would be nice.

Okay David. Time to break some records. Good years are nice and all that, but you need some record breaking to get through that list. Good luck.

Ed. note: It appears the total count of discreet items built or painted this year runs to 122. They break down approximately as follows:

40 1/2400 ships (including four on commission)
6 1/2400 terrain items
36 28mm terrain items
40 28mm miniatures including vehicles

Addn. note: It is EXTREMELY difficult to figure out what was painted when if you haven't made careful notes. Stuff seems to always fall through the cracks. Thus the above numbers aren't quite gospel, but they should be close. Further, not quite everything is pictured. If you have the patience I will try to go back and notate accurately what was painted when, getting it in order and more accurately accounted, as Cheetor so carefully did on his review.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hello Kitty on a Hot Tin Roof

Last time on Adventures of the Lace Rock Gang our heroes encountered a sudden storm of super-sonic stay-away from all angles when they ventured to the site of the Graceful Ghost Gibsonite Mine to retrieve their supplies. Not only did the pirate Goldberg Street follow them so he could Shanghai their rightfully stolen goods, but bands of nearby orcs heard the gunfire as their brand of party time and showed up uninvited.

When the cordite fumes cleared Lace Rock leader Jackie Chu and his crew had snagged the better half of their stuff, but somehow Kitty Luong, the gang's principal sneaking specialist and anthropomorphic robot-cat freak, had disappeared. Only this time it looked like she hadn't snuck off to watch Twen-Cen 2D. The orcs must have gotten her! It falls on Chu and his comrades to see if they can be real quiet like and get their girl back.

The party arrived at the surprisingly lightly guarded scene in the middle of the night. The orks had a hard day of drinking and needed to sleep it off. (Which is pretty much every day for orks, really. Including days when they also shoot at stuff. Which is also pretty much every day.) As you can see below, the party chose to enter simultaneously from two sides. Not depicted in this film is a salt lake to the rear of the compound. You can wade in carefully single file, but there's no bringing in armies through the back door, so the grots who drew night watch and the heavy defenses were posted to the front.

Of course, the very first place the party went was the abandoned jail, which was also not too well defended, while simultaneously being where I had chosen to place Kitty. Oops. Note to self, don't place her so close to the back door next time. The party needs to discover her location the hard way. This is an action adventure. You need to make the characters work.

The game was supposed to be a variant on Pulp Alley's trail of clues. The party would interrogate each green "plot point" until they got the information they needed. I defeated myself by breaking PA's own rules and placing the primary objective in advance, thus rending such a shortcut as actually transpired possible. The team found Kitty pretty much on the first try. Next time Kitty will be in the same building as the boss, and neither will be placed until AFTER several greenskins have undergone the enhanced but quiet Q&A sessions that reveal the location BEFORE sneaking up on the guard and rendering him less conscious. But this time they just bonked him and found their girl.

After that, all that remained was for the gang to make good a hasty exit, which they did with only a little trouble. (They woke up a few grots whom they needed to quiet before alarms were raised to bring the orcs out of their alcohol induced slumber.)

If you're interested in the mechanics I used for some of the sneaking and interrogating come on over the PA community. I've written a more detailed review of the particulars there.

While it wasn't quite as successful as the first game, with a little tweaking I think it's solid. And it's nice that this was a sneak game and not a shoot game. The time limit this time was longer, so as to allow for the slower snaking progress, and was to be imposed by a group of orcs returning. As it happens, it never came up. Still, if my players are happy, and they seemed well enough pleased, all will work out. Now, to design a third episode.

Thanks for reading.

The Composer

Good Fences for Bad Neighbors

Someone once said good fences make good neighbors. Tell that to the Picts and the Mongols. Or for that matter China and Rome. Neither good fences nor great walls will keep out the really rotten neighbors. But hey, that never stops anyone from trying.

And in the far distant future of Oldhammer there were lots of folks to keep out, both casual and determined, so I'm guessing fixed linear obstacles would be a rather common feature. To that end, I've built myself some larger and more defensible no-trespassing markers. I built fence for casual around the Graceful Ghost. Now I wanted some wall for determined, as the next episode, Hello Kitty on a Hot Tin Roof, was to take place in a fortified encampment.

This is a remarkably simple job. The walls are basically heavy cardboard packing components I salvaged from work (a great source for unwanted parts) with a couple coats of spray paint. They were cut in a few different shapes and heights to fit tightly around whatever they protected, which worked well to create platforms and bastions.

But the platforms were just a touch short, so I used some scrap blue foam to raise them enough that the high walls would fall about chest high on a typical 28 mil miniature. Which works out to be about chin high on the shorty-grots who pulled guard duty in most of these photos. The walls themselves are quite tall enough to impede even quite large vehicles and critters.

Of course no large barriers in the middle of nowhere are complete without graffiti. The decoration will be an ongoing process for some time yet, but you can see the start now. The movie reference below need enlargement yet, but I think it's enough to get the point across. Added later will be some weathering, a rock "toor" poster or two, and more art, notices, and maybe some actual official signage. (Half buried under the layers of newer creation.) 

My goal is to have the structure and walls scaled so that they can be usefully incorporated together. The building below was left intentionally windowless on the first floor rear for that very reason. I also used the shorter wall sections as my model for one floor's height. I considered making one floor the height-plus necessary to fit elegantly behind the taller wall sections at reasonable platform height, but that was just a little too tall for my taste. As it is the huts already have nice generous twelve foot ceilings, more or less. (I take a standard 28 mil fig as six feet, which is a convention I learned long ago in a scene design class I never quite finished.)

I'm quite sure more walls and buildings in a variety of styles will come in time. Stay tuned, there's an AAR that should follow quite soon. (From the game that needed the walls.) And as always, thank you for reading.

The Composer