Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching up


We seem to have gotten past the hump of moving in.  Lots of scattered boxes etc. still about, but all the necessary day-to-day stuff is unpacked, furniture is set up, and we're getting back into something of a routine.  Sanity, bit-by-bit, is being restored.


With all the disruption, geek continues to be somewhat interrupted, but I've manged to get my little hobby corner set up, and my painted stuff is back in it's usual home, along with a few "on deck" projects.




In terms of gaming, the Cub and I (with a little dice-throwing assistance from the Puddin') managed to get in a couple of X-Wing games, including one crazy game where the little monkey out-manoevred me twice, getting into the blind spot of my Firespray.  Hairball antics included this mess:


We tried out the new ships picked up just prior to leaving TO, and I've been impressed by all three.  The HWK adds some nice support to the Rebs, as does the cheaper option of the Z95, and the Firespray is just fun.

We've also scouted out some the the geek shops in the area, including a comic store downtown that carries some X-Wing ( Strange Adventures ), and the local GW, and found customer service at both to be excellent.  The GW, in particular, was impressive, with both manager and staff showing enormous patience with the kids and their questions.  I'm used to a store environment that's a little more  . . . agressive, not to mention awkward, but these guys went a long way towards making me think GW's a place I might want to take the kids and share my hobby.  Cub's shown a little interest, and we may get down for a casual trial game on a weekend, and see how it goes.

Between the positive vibes of the visit, and the recent release of the Ork codex, I even cracked open some of the boys, and did some modelling.


They won't be a primary painting focus, I think, but I enjoy the ork models enough that they'll make a nice break from whatever historical stuff I have on the go, and GW's "painted" policy is lax enough that I might even get in a game.

The plan is to take the kids down to the Citadel this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a post out of that, and we'll see what can be done about getting a few figures painted.  Work's keeping me busy though, so progress, while incremental, is likely to be slow.  So far, we're really enjoying Halifax, and taking the time to explore the city and get to know the place a little better.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

We made it!


Clan Monkey arrived safe in Halifax yesterday around lunch, and stage one of move in is complete.  Today will likely include the Great Grocery Shop, and hopefully a good run around for Cub and Puddin', as they've spent the last several days cooped up in the van, miraculously not killing each other.

Painted minis traveled with us, and arrived safely.  The lead pile (along with other, less important household goods) is due to arrive mid-week.  Tuesday I go in to the new job, to be duly processed as another cog in the machine.

Now I just have to talk the Beloved into the 5 hr drive to Louisburg ;)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

From the depths of packing, I post at thee.


Ye gods.  The moving truck comes on Wednesday morning, and we are at that finely balanced moment  where one regularly goes to find something, only to discover it is packed up, while at the same time still having a horrifying amount of stuff to pack up.  Yesterday I invoked the awesome power of Paterfamilius, and the whole bunch of us got out of the house and went down to Kensington market.  A good long walk, some excellent Pho, and a supper of fresh bread, good cheese, and assorted farm veggies later, sanity has been restored.

Good soup is a mighty thing.

Geek progress (I think understandably) has been limited, but I have managed to pick up  bunch of stuff for the Acadian project.  I had an order come in from Skip at Legends in Time, and am now well-supplied with Brits, provincials, and a variety of militia and civilians.  I also picked up some 4Ground buildings (log cabins and New England settler homes), and a tidy little cordouroy bridge.  I'll need some (i.e., lots) of trees), but I've got plenty of stuff to keep me busy.

Terrorist, or freedom fighter? You decide.

I also took the Cub down to the game store, and we splurged on a few X-Wing ships.  He had a little cash, and bought himself a blister each of the HWK-290 and Z-95 Headhunter.  The latter has a bit of a history with us, as he's also got the LEGO set ;)  With the Rebels expanding their fleet, it was obviously necessary for the Imperials to match them, and I picked up a Firespray, because Boba Fett.  Sadly, these will get packed up until we get out to Halifax, but I'm looking forward to getting them on the table.

Yes, Lando, he's cooler than you.

Probably going to be at least a week or so before my next post.  Our stuff, as I mentioned, moves out Wednesday, and we'll probably take a few days to drive out; with kids and cats in the car, power-driving seems like a poor idea.  Next post will be from Hali.  Wish us luck!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Hold the Line

Yesterday saw the Cub and I out to the TMHG's first run at an annual convention, Hold the Line.  It was a fantastic day, and I had enough fun that I pretty much forgot to take pictures ;)  Turn out was good - maybe 80-90, which for a first-time convention was pretty good, I think, and everyone I saw seemed to be having a good time.

We got there around 11, about half-way through the morning sessions, but managed to budge in on a new-style Battletech game being enjoyed by Foxlington and his boy (about the same age as Cub), and G-man was kind enough to let the Cub and I play with his Deathstar Trench Run set-up once the morning game had concluded.  That was pretty impressive, as he had not only constructed an actual trench for the fighters to fly around in (and over!), but had also put together a pretty impressive sound board for audio SFX throughout the game (the Cub's been making Millenium Falcon "pew pew" noises most of the day).


There were some definite show-stoppers.  marke's Adwalton Moor game looked to be a success - based on the trial we played a few weeks back, but tweaked, and with updated terrain.  There was also a huge Impetus game, about 800 points a side, Late Romans against (I think?) Sassanians, and with 28mm figures.  Looked terrific.


We also got ridiculously lucky on the charity raffle (raising money for the Wounded Warrior fund).  We won not only a Corvus Belli DBA Celtiberian box, but also a box of Wargames Factory 15mm Americans (Cub got the latter - the former will act as faux Galatians in an Antigonid morph).

What made the day for me, personally, was seeing the Cub enjoying himself. He really got into both the X-Wing and Battletech game, on his own account.  While in the past, he's shown interest in what I've been doing, at the convention, it was his own fun and interest that were motivating him.  Gives me real hope that the two of us will be able to do more of this in the future.

Apparently, the raffle raised about a grand for the Wounded Warriors fund, and the three club guys who did the heavy lifting (Watts, AlexM, and Vonplutz) are actually talking about doing it again.  Don't know if we'll make it back next summer in time, but I'll be doing my best to spread the word, as I'd very much like to see the convention become an annual success.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Big news in Monkeyland.

We're moving to Halifax (in Nova Scotia, for you olde worlde types).  In less than a month.  Having rather quickly gone from having no job prospects in the Fall to having several, we've opted to move East, primarily as this puts us much closer to the Cub through his school year.  Close enough to see him most weekends, rather than once every several months.  This also, of course, has some implications for my hobby, chief among them that I'll no longer be able to game with the THMG.  This is the thing I'll miss most about Toronto, as I've had the privilege of gaming a wide variety of genres and periods with some absolutely spectacular people.  If any of you ever find yourself in Toronto, look up the THMG, they're good people.  Also, go to their convention, Hold the Line.  This weekend.  In Toronto.

In point of fact, gaming in general will likely be severely curtailed.  Work will be, I suspect, of an intensity I've not yet experienced.  On the one hand this means a degree of personal growth (and hopefully an opportunity for longer-term employment).  On the other, it means much more limited time available for my hobby.  My suspicion is that I'll have few chances for gaming itself, but should be able to still do at least a little painting.  While I'm aware of both Privateer Press and GW communities in the Halifax area, historical gaming seems a little limited (the one group I know of seems dedicated primarily to naval), and evenings and weekends will likely be devoted to family.

This, of course, has me doing a fair bit of hobby rumination and navel gazing.  One option is simply to putter along as I have, picking away at the lead pile at whatever happens to grab my interest at the time.  Another is to pick one (or two, or let's be realistic, three) projects to focus on.  If I opt for the latter, I'll want to do something where the process of painting itself gives me a degree of pleasure.

The Acadian project I mentioned in my last post is a strong contender for the "concentration" approach, not least because of where I'll be living.  On the other hand, the removal of the need to get things done to get them on the table also means I can turn my hand to any number of projects that have been languishing for want of "urgency".  The Magpie is dead, long live the Magpie.

I hope to maintain the blog despite the reductions in available time.  I've "met" dozens of people via this thing, and lived vicariously through any number of projects.  I hope, however, those of you following this will have some patience with me in the next few months, as between the arrival of Cub, the move, and the hustle of starting a new job, I suspect updates will be erratic.  Wish me the best.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lords of the Backcountry


Finished up another unit of Compagnie Franche de la Marine today, along with some officers.


I'm not as happy with these guys as the first batch.  Not sure if it's just a darker blue, or if I rushed them a little.  They're serviceable, but they don't tickle me the way the first batch did.


With these finished, I'm within spitting distance of 400 points.  Another unit of natives, and some talents for the officers, and I'm good to go.



With that in mind, I've been poking around looking for ideas to build around.  I came across some discussion of the fighting in Acadie (modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).  This includes both the conflicts preceding the SYW (like Father Le Loutre's War), the guerrilla fighting surrounding the Acadian Expulsion, and formal campaigns like that of the Bay of Fundy.

There's plenty of unit types on both sides, lots of gaming potential, but it's a little different than the traditional "Hudson corridor" story of the conflict.  I'm going to pick up some 4ground buildings, and some more BM figs, and see what I can work up.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

With my mind on my minis . . .

 . . . and my minis on my mind.

I've been thinking of late about a project for one of the Black Book series of rules from Warlord (Black Powder, Hail Caesar, etc.).  I quite enjoy them, as last week's game reminded me, and own Black Powder and the Age of Reason supplement, Last Argument of Kings.  I've also been itching to work on some sort of big, long term project in the Black Powder period in 15mm.  While there's real appeal to doing something for the SYW (either in Europe or the colonies), the War of the Spanish Succession (have you SEEN the new Khurasan minis?), or the Great Northern War, I have a passion for the AB range, already have some AB Russian guard, and the Napoleonic period offers a greater variety of painting options than any others.  So, down the rabbit hole I go.

After some consultation (and an excellent suggestion from JJM, the THMG's English ambassador), I've decided to build some preliminary forces around the fighting on the first day of the Battle of Kulm, also known as the Battle of Priesten.  It's actually an interesting engagement, in which a rearguard composed of the Russian guard corps, supported by line troops and cavalry, hold off steadily increasing pressure from the French.   It reminds me a little of the first day of Gettysburg, where a small holding action gradually escalates into a massive dog pile.

With the Nafziger lists now available online, I was able to track down OOBs for both the Russians / Allies and the French.  To keep things manageable, I'm going to work on the approximate scale where 1 brigade of 4-6 battalions (or squadrons) is a BP unit, and a BP brigade roughly translates into a division.  While this isn't perfect (I need to fudge some of the historical formations into BP terms), it does give a reasonable organisational framework for planning out units / purchases and painting.  Loosely speaking, the Russian and Allied forces break down like this:

Russian / Allied General:  Generallieutenant Osterman-Tolstoy

BP Brigade 1 (Left Wing, Centre, of 1st line, General Bistrom I and Colonel Schelwinski)

Unit 1
Russian Guard Jager Regiment (3)
Murmon Infantry Regiment (2)

Unit 2
Guard Hussar Regiment (6)

Unit 3
Revel Infantry Regiment (2)
4th Jager Regiment (2)

BP Brigade 2 (Right wing of 1st line, Generalmajor Knorring)

Unit 1
Empress Curiassier Regiment (4)

Unit 2
Tartar Uhlan Regiment (6)

Unit 3
Illowaiski #12 Cossack Pulk

Unit 4
Loubny Hussar Regiment (2)
Serpuchov Uhlan Regiment (3)

                        Unit 5
Guard Horse Battery #1 (Bistram) (12 guns)

                       Unit 6 
                                    Erzherzog Johann Dragoon Regiment (4) (Austrian)

BP Brigade 3 (2nd line, V Guard Corps: Generallieutenant Yermolov
Unit 1:  1st Guard Infantry Division: Generalmajor Baron Rosen

Brigade: Generalmajor Potemkin
Preobragenski Guard Infantry (3)
Semenovski Guard Infantry (3)

Unit 2: (small?)

Brigade: Generalmajor Krapovitzsky
Ismailov Guard Infantry (3)

Unit 3:
            Guard Light Battery #1

Unit 4:
Guard Heavy Battery #2

Unit 5 Generalmajor Ljalin's Brigade, part of 14th Division: Generalmajor Helfreich
Tenguinsk Infantry Regiment (2)
Estonia Infantry Regiment (2)
Grand Duchess Catherine Battalion

            Unit 6:
                        (?) ½ Light Battery #6 (6 guns - not sure how to handle this?)

BP Brigade 4: 3rd Division: Generalmajor Schachafskoy (part of 2nd Russian Corps: Generallieutenant Duke Eugen von Württemberg)

Unit 1 Brigade: Colonel Wolff
Tchernigov Infantry Regiment (2)
Selenguinsk Infantry Regiment (2)

            Unit 2 4th Division: Brigade: Colonel Treffurt (small?)
Tobolsk Infantry Regiment (2)
Minsk Infantry Regiment (1)

             Unit 3 Corps Artillery:
                         Light Battery #27 (Baikov) (12 guns)

             Unit 4 
                         Heavy Battery # 14 (Cerenissomov) (12 guns) 

There's also two units of cavalry, part of the guard corps, that arrived later.  I'll have to figure out how to accommodate command for them:

Guard Uhlan Regiment (6)

Guard Dragoon Regiment (6)

You can see what I mean about fudging.  The historical OOB doesn't fit neatly into Black Powder terms, and even approximating it leaves me with some "light" brigades and units.  I can tinker with it as I go, of course, and in the mean time, it gives me something to build with.  One thing I find appealing is the ability to have multiple historical units comprise a BP unit.  It means more flags, more command, and more pretty on the table.  As all normal sized BP units are 6 stands, I'm going to have to fudge here a little as well.  The unit comprised of 3 battalions of two different guard regiments is straightforward; the one comprised of three different line units is less so.  Another way to do it would be to simply total up the available batallions of each type, and arbitrarily assign them to units / brigades, but that seems a little hinky.

Anyone with experience adapting historical OOBs to game terms, I'd much appreciate any advice you can give on the process.