Friday, February 25, 2022


Enough dickin around with Star Trek (see previous post), though there will be more dickin around in space in future posts.  Now though; back to the task at hand.  

On The Way

February has turned out to be a productive month, as I completed 13 more Dark Ages warrior types.  I'm gonna try and paint in larger batches than 10, otherwise I'll be doing this all year before I get to 100 miniatures.

I have a vague notion that if I can get these done by late August I can go to Pacificon in early September with a mass dark ages battle to put on.  Gives me about 6 months. It's good to have goals.

Any-hooters, here are the proud 13.

The heroes of the hour.
A mix of plastic and metal figures.

Here are some close ups so you can see the AH-mazing paint jobs.
That is said tongue in cheek, it's just average paint jobs, like everything I paint.

This guys has a hair cut like he could be an extra in a
Planet of the Apes movie.

This metal miniature is going to eventually drop his spear.
no amount of super glue will keep it in place.
It's gonna happen because the hand is not big enough to hold it.
I understand his pain, because I also have small  delicate hands.

10 guys go onto the big battle base (fancy phrase for a movement tray),
which I already had done so no extra points there.
The other 3 will have to wait their turn.

That's a total of 23 done towards the goal of 100.  Solidly on the way now.


As an extra bonus, I finished up the last of my tiny dice counters, because they were sitting on my painting desk and I was already in the process of painting bases brown and gluing on flock...

Miniature in there just for scale.
I now have 50 of these things, which is plenty for anything I could use them for;
basically any game mechanic that require tracking as long as it's 1-6.

I know!  I am a burst of activity these days. if by activity you mean sitting at a desk and fussing around with glue and paint.  Doesn't really increase the heart rate or make me sweat; I'm not THAT out of shape. 

Hubby Points

I have been earning buco-mucho hubby points lately for all manner of things.  My Valentines Day gift to the wife was that  I planned a weekend away in March to one of her favorite places.  Cha-ching.  

Also all manner of activities I have done.  One that was quite different; preparing ginger bread houses for the girl scouts that the little kids could decorate.  

One can buy gingerbread house kits, but that starts to get expensive for 13 girls.  To save costs we got regular gingerbread crackers and hot glued them together.  But first, to get the house shape the tops of the crackers had to be to cut at a roughly 45 degree angle..

With the skill of surgeon, I took a serrated knife and cut out top corners of the crackers,
 making an inverted V.
It took many, many, many crackers as they would constantly break.
So not a very good surgeon.

Here We Are, At the End

I got in 3 thrilling posts in Feb, the shortest month of the year.  I could be getting good at this blogging business.  Took long enough.
Till Next time.
Thanks for reading.  Double thanks for leaving a comment, I do like those. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Wargamer's Wandering Minds to Space Ships (part 1)

 Naturally while I am painting Dark Ages Saxons and Vikings, I started thinking about Star Trek.  One follows the other like a sunrise after the cold night.....


On my birthday last December, I was supposed to get together with my friend Mr. PC and play this old chestnut of a board game..

10 years old this game is, and still awesome.

We ended up cancelling because my whole family got sick (not COVID, but some other virus) and life is dumb.  Then some time later while BORED at work I was thinking about the game and Star trek in general (because I was REALLY bored), and how come I don't have any Star trek miniatures? On a whim I typed into google "Star Trek Miniature Wargame" and found a new rabbit hole to go down.  
Or you could call it a black hole.
Because it's a hole...(announcer voice) IIINNNN SSPPAAAAACE.


What follows will mainly be the journey down that black hole.  Mostly to serve for my own online storage.  I'll also advertise it as a guide for others.  It might be amusing, especially from the POV of someone who is not a trekkie (like myself).  I'm primarily a historical gamer, but I've always said that I like Sci-Fy and Fantasy as long as it's Star Wars, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings.  I've played starship games at conventions and had fun.  The main difference is that instead of making "boom! boom! vroom!" noises while moving tanks you make "pew! pew! Bzzzzt" noises while moving starships.  You DO make sound effect noises while playing miniature games don't you?  It can't be just me.

But If I am gonna do some spaceship gaming it's gotta be Star Wars or Star Trek because I cannot be bothered to learn some other setting.  You should see the way that my eyes glaze over when I start to read some other version of the galaxy...."These are the bloopbloop aliens they come from  the planet megabloop and their culture revolves around the concern for bloopiness" and I feel asleep because it soooo boring.
I think Trek beats out StarWars for ship to ship combat because Starwars is usually about fighters zipping around.  Think about every cool space scene in Star Wars and what you're following are characters in fighters, not the big ships.  Star Trek is more about crewed ships slugging it out and barely ever uses fighters, which is more to my taste.  I kinda want Age of Sail ships of the line...but in space. And Trek has been described as Horatio Hornblower.....but in space.   

Also; According to my research, I'm about 20 years late to the party of wanting to do starship combat with Star trek style ships.  WAAAAY behind the curve.  Once again I demonstrate that I have my fingers on the pulse of the wargaming community...  

I had to learn a lot of new vocabulary.  I was helped by poking around the internet, posting on TMP,  and by internet best friend David from the Lasgunpacker Blog.  

First question: Which Trek?


TOS stands for The Original Series which aired on TV from 1966 through 1969 and then onto syndication.  Apparently, it only got real popular after syndication.   It's Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Bones.  TNG stands for The Next Generation that aired on TV from 1987 to 1994.  Picard, Riker, Data, and Crusher.  It's the endless Kirk vs Picard debate.  Pick your side now.  These represent the two subgenres of Star trek as they cover different time periods / tech levels.  You could of course mix them together because it's ALL MADE UP ANYHOW but the historical gamer in me thinks that's too much like putting WWII tanks on an AWI battlefield.  

Things to think about while choosing: 
Ship appearances: 

Everyone loves the Classic Enterprise.

I love the classic Enterprise.  Turns out this is called a Constitution Class starship.  I didn't know that starships had types/classes but I suppose that makes sense.   
I even don't mind that every ship in the Star fleet kinda looks like this one, but with more Rocket-thingys stuck to it, or stuck on in different places. 

"Need More Rocket-Thingys Please!"

OK, the rocket-thingys are actually called Nacelles, I had to learn that to figure which miniatures to buy, and more on that later.  While researching fictional starships you come across a lot of 'made up' words.  (OK, 'nacelle' is not a made up word and it actually means "streamlined body sized according to what it contains",  But it SOUNDS made up) 

What is true for the TOS is true for TNG, The Federation had an aesthetic and went all in.
You're gonna get saucers and rocke... nacelles.  

I was always partial to the conflicts between Starfleet and the Klingons, and these two factions are kinda everyone's favorite anyway.  You don't see a lot of people going to Star Trek conventions dressed as Romulans, because Romulans are Boring.  (at least that's what I guess, I've never been to ST convention.  I'm not judging, I go to miniature wargame conventions so I don't really have the moral high ground).  

This is the classic Klingon ship from TOS.
I hate this ship.

This ship looks like a snapping turtle wearing a bad hat.  It's awful.  And the Torpedo tube in the front gives it an "OOOHH my gOOOOSh" expression. 

and trust me: every Klingon ship looks like this one.  You would think that for a show about the future and space they would have more imagination.  Apparently what they didn't have was a good enough budget for different ships.

Klingons from TNG and later times just have cooler ships.
This thing just looks menacing.

It's not till later on in the franchise, like Star trek III and after that you start to get cool Klingon ships like the famous Birds of Prey ships.  

Of course all these ship types exist simply because the TV show or movie script required one, "the bad guys need a ship and make it look cool."  The same type of ship even gets bigger or smaller depending on what the script calls for.  I find it hi-larious that there are 4 types of Bird of Prey star ships that all look the same but are different sizes, because during the TV shows and movies they used the same model over and over and just made it look bigger or smaller for the story arc.  


For me; the Trek that hits the Nostalgia bone is Next Generation.  If yours is TOS then you're probably about 10/15/20 years older than I am and are firmly into 'older man' years while I am just middle aged.
I can remember when I was just barely a teenager and TNG came out on TV; and my family would gather 1 night a week to watch together; before we were all separated by time, death, and bitterness.  That's almost the very definition of Nostalgia.  

Moving on: Rules

This is a whole new genre for me and it's fun to explore virgin territory, so I have no idea what rules are good for Space Ships zooming around going pewpewpewBOOM.  And there is no official TNG miniatures game unless you count Star Trek Attack Wing (which is just like Xwing, but with Trek ships,.  But I already have Xwing so don't need to duplicate it.)
Poking around the internet there seems to be two rule sets that come up over and over again; Full Thrust and Starmada.  

Apparently Full Thrust has been around for ages and ages, and is now free online and can be found at Ground Zero Games.  However, it goes through a bunch of revisions from the core book through the fleet books and there are other versions besides.  Yet, I did come across this:

This version of Full Thrust seems to have everything combined
and was updated in 2021, so fairly recently.

You can find this version free HERE.  
As I read the rules, they seemed awfully familiar to rules used in a space game I played years and years ago that I enjoyed.  So I either have already played and liked these rules OR all space games are kinda same.  

Online there are numerous conversions of FT to Trek from people who got here waaaay before me (did I mention I'm decades late to this party).  Though most are for classic Trek / TOS style ships.  And part of the fun is the endless tinkering to make your own ship designs.  

I've been using some free time at work to design ships for the eventual playtest.
Here is a rough and ready Ship Status Display (SSD) that I threw together.
That's right; I go to work in order to have free time.
There is no such thing at home.

The other rule set is available on Wargame vault for like $10, so I did an impulse purchase as the price was less than a pack of cigarettes...

There are about a hundred different versions of Starmada,
but the UNITY rulebook seems to be the latest and bestest.

Starmada is about 2 steps up in complexity from FT.  The gameplay is not super complex (though the ship construction rules are looking to be a real exercise in maths) but did require some extra reading.  
Starmada does have a Trek source book but it's for TOS era, but I might pick it up anyway just to see what they do, how they make the ships.  

I Know a Filler Post When I See One

This project is in it's infancy.  This post is mostly filler because I can't crank out painted Dark Age warriors as fast as I would like, but gotta post something or you all will forget about me.  But it's funny how a new genre can really spark the imagination and take us by surprise.  It's a special kind of excitement; researching about rules and miniatures, thinking about scenarios, and how this is or that.  Seeing what's been done before and how I would do it now.  I don't think board gamers get this kind of rush.  It's the rush of antici..........pation.

More on this as it develops.  I can hear you groaning from here.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

It's a start; 10/100

 If a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step; then the painting of a hundred miniatures begins with a single brush stroke.  Time to start painting.

It's Painting Night

(and the feelings right, it's painting night, oh what a night)

It's a January Saturday night, and the wife is out of town at work, which means that right after the kids go to bed I can do a long paint session to start on my project of painting 100 dark ages miniatures; because I won't have to waste time pretending to listen to her talk while thinking about something else.  

(Don't worry, she doesn't read the blog).

(IF you are reading this Sweets, it's just a joke.  Of COURSE I am paying attention to every word you say)

Here is how the night goes:

8:30 and the last kid is tucked in.  Spend 10 minutes just enjoying the quiet that is 3 children NOT talking.  Maybe look at a wargame blog.  Have a cup of coffee, otherwise I'll be asleep by 930.  

8:40 - time for some quick chores just because it bothers me when their not done.  Wash the dishes (because I don't like dirty dishes in the sink overnight), Sweep up the Zillion crumbs on the floor that the kids left (otherwise we get ants in the morning).  Put out the garbage can fire in the kitchen..  that kind of stuff.

9:10 - Time to get serious now.  

To mark the occasion of painting miniatures for the first time after a year, I broke out a new Winsor Series 7 brush that the wife gets me every Christmas.  I also had to re-activate the wet palette by soaking the paper in hot water and re-wetting the sponge, because it was all desert dry.

I also dug out my magnifier, because I can't paint anything without them, because looking at things up close goes all fuzzy.

My wife thinks I look good in these.  We do a sexy roleplay where I am the dirty dentist and she is the single mom with a tooth ache and no dental insurance....

Moving on....

I teased Keith over on the Bydand blog about posting pics of his family versus himself,
so he posted a selfie just to satisfy me.  I figured I owed him one in return.
Though this is not the first time this GORGEOUS face o' mine has graced the posts of this blog.

Getting to the painting desk

JF of the Palouse blog did a post about his game room / hobby space set up
and stated that I should share mine.  This is my permanent painting / hobby area.
Literally in the corner of the house that is farthest away from anywhere people might wander.

It goes through tides of being messy (like in the middle of a project like Right Now) and being clean(er).


910 - start painting
930 - Son #2 is up (3 years old), needs the bathroom, drinks some water, and a new tuck in.
940 - back to painting
1002 - Son #3 is crying (1 year old).  I give him a bit as maybe he's just adjusting and will go back to sleep.
1010 - nope,  Still crying.  dirty diaper and he is hungry.  He usually sleeps through the night but occasionally wakes up every now and then. I give him a bottle, put him back in his crib, and then I realize that was the last clean bottle so now I have to wash them all for tomorrow...
1030 - Check on Daughter #1 (8 years old), at least she is still sleeping...
1035 - BACK to painting
1045 - Wife calls to say goodnight.  Not a problem because I talk to her on speaker phone so I still have my hands free.  Until she asks me to look for something that she thinks she left behind in the bedroom upstairs...
1110 - Step outside for a cigarette; because what the wife don't know won't hurt her (she really doesn't read the blog).  While outside I notice that the house is about to be attacked by Dark Seekers / zombie vampires.  Let out a long sigh, go back in and activate the perimeter defenses and take them out all Will Smith style from I Am Legend.

That was a good movie wasn't it?
And he looks just like me.

1130 - Daughter #1 is up saying she heard a noise and "is it morning yet?"  


But Still, Progress is Made

I finished the first 10 of my 100 miniatures project.  Only took me all month.  Behold!

The only real trick to painting Dark Age warriors is to make the leg wraps
NOT look like leg warmers.

All good Saxon Thegns have Mustaches.

Everyone likes a good standard bearer.
Too bad all I have is this one.
I'm sure he has a mustache under that chainmail face thingy..

No need to show close ups of all 10.  They all kinda look the same and my painting is not that good.  

Everyone onto the movement tray (or as I say, the Big Battle Base).
I already had the base done, so that doesn't count for nothing.

And Here We Depart

10 miniatures completed out of the 100 planned.  It's a start.  Gonna be a long project and hopefully nothing will distract me.  That's not foreshadowing at ALL.  

Thanks for reading.  Double thanks for writing a comment.  Till next time.