Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Small Side Projects


This post is 2/3s boring and 1/3 exciting.  

Which parts are boring and which one exciting? Read on dear internet friend, read on...

Small Projects for Small Minds like Mine

While working on the shoreline terrain I completed some small side projects that basically used the same steps / materials so were easy to do.  Yay me for hobby efficiency!  Effective time management!  With all that extra time I saved I could probably watch a short Youtube video on the mating practices of Ostriches; because one might need to know that sometime.  The world is crazy.

The Devil is in the....

Den.  No, not the den as in the room in your house where you store your treadmill that you never use and just hang laundry on.  I mean the Devils Den from the American Civil War in the Battle of Gettysburg.  In case you don't know: The Devils Den is really just a hill that has a bunch of large boulders on it.  It was a natural defensive position for some Union troops though really the fighting mostly swept over it to get to the hill beyond it called Little Round Top.  

Actual Devil's Den

For a long time now I needed a Devil's Den for the Little Round Top Scenario for my ACW games.  And for a long time I kept thinking I was gonna make one myself; 
because-ah, I like-ah, to make-ah, a little bit-ah, terrain.  
But I obviously haven't gotten around to it yet.  

As an alternative I picked up this 'rocky hill' from one of my favorite companies Battlefield Terrain Concepts.  I have lots of their stuff.  This one is described as 'suitable for Devils Den.'  

All I did was paint and flock it (As I said; hobby activities I was doing anyway while making the shore line, same colors even... efficient or lazy..)

It came out alright.  In truth I wish it was juuust a little bigger.  Maybe I'll get around to making my own *someday*.  
But with this done I now have everything needed to play out the some Little Round Top Scenario goodness.  Exciting YES??  

Maybe not.  Perhaps this next bit:

Dial 'F" for Fussy

As seen before on the blog; I really like the rules called Clash of Spears.  The rules need a lot of counters / markers if you want to avoid having dice all over the table (which I do).  So in order to track command points I ordered these counter/wound dials.

Recall the Sesame Street song:
"Which on of these things is not like the others?
One of these things is not the same.
Which one of these things is not like the others?
Now it's time to play our game!"

I forget the company that I ordered them from and honestly, I wasn't super impressed with them anyway.  They are fine enough; just round MDF disks with magnets and numbers etched into them.  I gave them a basic paint job and some flock.  

Two things happened:
First, on one of the disks the magnet was inserted wrong so that it's polarity is reversed (it came like that, I didn't do it.  I swear) so that the etched numbers had to face down and not up through the top disk with the notch.  grumble grumble grumble.  A simple fix of painting the disk black and painstakingly hand painting roman numerals on it.   Fixed!  

Then, the more I looked at the dials the more I liked the black with the roman numerals sooooo muuuch better.  The numbers were easier to see and in general the disk just looks smarter without the bare wood showing through.  
I got fussy about it and made them all match.  I used black card stock to cover the etched numbers (it helps to have a wife who's into paper crafting and always has a supply of card stock to steal indefinitely borrow) and painted the roman numerals on top of that.    

King Ethelbert says,
"I find command dials VERY exciting!  And don't they look sharp too!
Like my sword that I use to slay heathen Vikings
and cut bricks of cheese."

I'm sure we all agree.  They look better that way.  I feel like lately my level of wargaming fussiness has been increasing.  I just want things to be proper and look right.  Maybe I can become a Napoleonic wargamer after all.  


A Triumphant Return

Like many people, COVID really put a kiboosh to a lot of my opportunities to play wargames face to face.   We had rules that I could go over to someone else's place to play a game, but had to wear masks, no multiplayer games, come home and take a shower, burn the clothes, sacrifice an animal to the God of Pestilence,  etc..  I wasn't allowed to invite folks to my place.  I did manage to sneak in a few games here and there.  But largely, me being the friendless loner that I am, found little opportunities to play.  

Things being as they are now, many people being vaccinated and California scheduled to go all open on June 15th, we're loosening our own  household restrictions but still trying to be safely behind the curve.  Which means:

(outside, wearing masks).  

So I have an ACW game scheduled for Father's Day Weekend at my place with anywhere of 3 to 6 people showing up.  

Scenario will be something like this.
These are all Brigades.  Shown in Line and Supported Line Formations just for fun.
Rules will be Brigade Fire and Fury

See, I did save the really exciting bit for last.  It's the excitement of anticipation.  

Till next time.  Thanks for reading.  


  1. I have many of Doug's terrain pieces (Battlefield Terrain Concepts): one of the advantages of being out east is to visit his booth at the HMGS conventions (although I haven't been to one of those in several years). Very much like the dials and your customization: I need to scoop some of these up (and then find a reason to use them!). We're returning to face to face gaming in these parts, and still sort of feeling our way back into that being normal.

    1. Thanks a lot Ed! BTC is one of the best indeed. You guys on the East Coast have all the fun.
      The dials should prove useful in any game where you gotta track stuff. πŸ˜€

  2. 100% interesting! Your rendition of Devil's Den turned out very well. I look forward to a recap of your F2F game. I don't see Devil's Den on the game board. Surely, you must find a place for it on your table.

    1. Surely not 100%….you are being too kind once again.
      The den came out well but it’s a really nice sculpt so it was easy to do. I do wish it was 8x6 instead of the 6x4.
      The upcoming game will be set in the wilderness (didn’t make all those trees for nothing) so I doubt the den will show up on the battlefield. But who knows? πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the comment JF.

  3. Like Devil's Den concept and was surprised when I saw your photo that I have never actually seen a picture of Devil's Den. It is of course much as I had imagined, but seeing it was good.

    Looking forwards to seeing an ACW action grace your table. In the UK we are scheduled to come out of the final lock down restrictions on 21st June, but variants are causing infection rates to climb again, so there is talk of a few weeks delay while that data reveals itself more fully.

    1. Thanks Norm. I’ve seen the place in person and it’s really nothing but a pile of really big boulders left there by some giant. πŸ˜€

      Good luck with your situation over there across the ocean.

  4. Rocks look good, when I did it I just stole stones out of the garden ! Glad you can get some gaming in πŸ‘

    1. Cheapskate! lololol. πŸ˜€
      I still might make one one day.

  5. Nice looking terrain piece and hope you enjoy the ACW game, look forward to the AAR.
    I had my first game back the weekend before last, 28mm all day Napoleonic game (blog post coming soon) and have a Friday night rolling into Saturday game in a week or so. It's good to be back live gaming with friends.

    1. Thanks Tony. I’m hoping this will be start of some more regular gaming though I am supposed to be moving…. πŸ˜€
      Sounds like you have some gaming fun going on. That’s good.

  6. Nice bit of terrain, we should be having a game soon, it's just my shed has become my home office and it's difficult to set up games, another damn you covid moment, have fun with your garden gaming!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks a bunch Iain.
      COvid just keeps taking from us doesn’t it. I’m sure you’ll work it out.

  7. Nice pile of rocks Stew but as Matt said, you could have just got them from the garden/local garden centre/a river bed somewhere etc. They do look like the real place - but then as its just a pile of rocks, they would do, wouldn't they? Have fun with your Fathers Day gaming - dont get too excited and break something! Have you found a new house yet?

    1. Thanks Kieth! A pile of rocks would do indeed but my yard didn’t really have any suitable so I made the purchase instead. πŸ˜€
      No, no new house yet. Still trying to get this one suited to put on the market. And this month we have a bunch of plans that basically make it a wash.

  8. Nice rocks that will be useful for all sorts of gaming terrain needs, not just 15mm acw surely?

    Dials and gaming aids are things I am sorely deficient in outside of ones for games I no longer play (flames of war anyone?). I very much like the black and numeral approach, stands out far better.

    Wish I could make the game mate, but will grumble at my lack of gaming and enjoy your following post showing how it went instead.

    1. Thanks Dai. Sure the rocks could be used in other settings though my ACW is really my only 15/18mm collection that sees the table much these days. πŸ˜€

      We’ve emailed about the game. Too bad, but life interferes like that.

  9. It is a shame the rocks aren't a bit bigger but I think they'll be a good stand-in. If they save you a fair bit of hobbying time, then that isn't a bad tradeoff either. I never thought I'd see the day where you become a fussy modeler either! Welcome to the club :D There's always room for more here! Its great to hear you'll be able to get a game in soon. I'm sure that will be invigorating for hobbying once you get your move done with. I hope that is going well and you aren't moving slowly in hopes of getting a game in first ;)

    1. Thanks Jeff! I feel welcomed into the fussy modeling club. Though it was an easy fix and didn’t really require any real skill. I guess the only way to find out if the rocks will do is actually put on the ACW game about Little Round Top.
      And I did tell the wife that I would like to put on one more big game night before we move. We’ll see if it happens though. πŸ˜€

  10. Great stuff Stew! BTC do some really fantastic terrain items - they are a booth I always spend a bit of time at during the HMGS cons πŸ˜€
    We just got a bunch of dials at the club for Sharp Practice to track "shock" - I hope we don't run into the same problems you did.
    Good luck with your game coming up, hopefully you'll get all 6 to come πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Ivor. We’re all fans of BTC it seems. I hope he’s rich out of our enthusiasm. πŸ˜€
      Dials would be a good investment to track shock in any TFL game.

  11. I do like the rocks, great job on them!

    1. Thanks Phil! Rock on my friend. πŸ˜€