Tuesday, June 13, 2023

McPherson's ridge Project (part 3; the sanding)


"The ACW,
is the best CW, 
I'm not tryin' to wound!
But the ACW, 
is MY CW, 
and makes me sing in tune!"

(Part two can be seen HERE.  This is part three.  Part 4 can be seen HERE

McPherson's Ridge Project Part 3

What? another update so soon? That's because I have been CRUSHING IT lately on the hobby front.  Crushing hard like a high school kid on an attractive English teacher.  

I've overcome a major hurdle, in that I've finished sanding all the hills.

Here is an exciting picture.

This was a major hurdle because use of the power sander required that it be done during daylight hours (so I could see what I was doing and not bother anyone with the noise) and outside.  /Shudder.  Gah, the outside.  Is it always so bright out here?  Why is it hot?  I'm pretty sure I am surrounded by dangerous animals like ladybugs and butterflies.  And reverse Werewolves.  Surely there is another way? but there isn't. 

Really the main hurdle is that daylight hours are usually booked with family activities and childcare.  Experience has shown that I can ignore the 2 year old, the 5 year old, and the 9 year old for only about 20 mins at a time.  Longer than that ends in someone crying.  Sometimes it's me.

So sanding had to be done by the principle of Specific Periods Of Reduced Activity Dedicated Indirectly Carefully Adding Little-by- Little Yo!   or S.P.O.R.A.D.I.C.A.L.L.Y for short.   

Since I happened to a game table out,
I put the hills out to see again how it was all shaping up.

Cut and sanded hills look more like hills.

Neil would like to know that THIS time I made sure to go over the crest several times to try to make sure that it beveled more smoothly.  time will tell if I was successful. 

It's slightly deceiving; I feel like I got a lot of work done,  but it's hard to show in pictures.  I guess I could of shown me covered in pink dust from the sanding, but then ya'll might just think that I had a bender on cotton candy flavored cocaine.  

No rest for the wicked, no peace for the just.  Wasting no time I've began coating the hills in ground texture.  Brushing on slightly watered down glue and sprinkling on the sand / coffee ground mix.  I tried to use a box lid to catch the sand so not to make a huge mess.  Only slightly successful.

The ground texture step will take some time, and then it'll painting them all brown and such.  

Looking Ahead

As one phase nears completion it's useful to look ahead and plan the next steps, so that it'll be ready go when the time comes.  I don't plan well in real life but in hobby world I am a master strategist.  

Flock Comparisons

I know I don't have enough flock and grass to cover these massive foam hills.  While I had my homemade mat out, I tried to re-find the mix of flock that I used to make the mat by taking little bits and doing color comparisons.  I'm not gonna get an exact match and now I am KICKING myself for not writing down the exact mix that I used.  But I don't want the hills to be severely different in color than the rest of the mat; like I don't want them 3 tones brighter or darker.  My body has some mean tan lines where I go from pale to ghostly white but lets see if we can avoid such stark contrasts on the table.  

Successful Field Experiment:
Original color on the left, painted added on the right.

The battlefield has several wheat fields on it and I've seen some really good fields on the internet made of teddy bear fur.  I've done that before so had some scraps lying around.  In my previous life I just cut the fur to shape and put on the game table; but there are several tutorials on-line of how folks add extra goodness by adding some paint, so I gave it try.  The results above.  WOW.  The differences are spectacular so that will be the go to method.  Now I need more fur.  

Left to right: Woods base, Orchard base, and railway base

The battlefield will also feature areas of woods, orchards, and I'll need an unfinished railway strip.  I want these areas to be easily defined by having a base / foot print.  I thought I would try using felt with some flock glued on.  I have this old felt gaming mat (from Monday Knight I think) that I haven't touched in years because I've upgraded.  I cut out some sections and did some experiments. 
This was a failure, as the felt is too think and doesn't really drape over contours after the glue and flock is added.  I think the mat is made from extra think felt.  I'll have to try it again with some regular felt or some fabric.   

The extra thickness isn't a problem for the railway strip, as it will sit flat on the table.  I glued on some ground texture and gave it a dark grey base with a white dry brush.  I just don't like the way it looks. The grey looks more lie pavement, or gray stucco, then stones.  I was thinking a grey color because it would make the railroad cut different from a brown road.  But it doesn't look right.  What color is an unfinished railway cut in the 19th century anyway?  All this stuff needs more time and experimentation; like my sexuality in college.  

Bonus Bocage

Did I mention that I was crushing it?  Crushing hard like a preteen on his babysitter. 
I had another game last weekend.   Three Saturdays in a row?!! Unheard of. Crushing.  IT!!
3 in a row? That my online friends, is called a wargaming hat trick.  

Fate collided with luck, and after several years of separation; good blogging buddy Dai (from the Lost, Damned, and Stunted Blog) and I were finally able to get together in the same room to play a game together.  I also had over my good friend Mr. PC.  

It was kinda short notice.  So I decided to play What A Tanker by Too Fat Lardies as it's a simple game and Dai and PC both really like WWII tanks. So do I obviously.  

I have a lot of WWII terrain, if by WWII terrain you mean Bocage.

Game table set up

Suitably claustrophobic
What's around the corner?

this stuff hasn't seen the table in so long that I had trouble finding it all in the garage, I mean miniature storage shed. 
Since we had 3 players, I set the game up that the Germans would be played by 1 person with tanks with higher point values and the Americans would be played by the other 2 players with more but lesser point tanks.  Worked out to be 4 Panthers vs 6 Shermans or M10s (3 per player and they could choose).  Since Dai and Mr. PC both happened to have olive green T shirts on, they took the Americans.

Tanks in the Bocage.

In What a Tanker,
each tank needs a HUD

TFL games are so hit and miss with me.  Some rules are a hit and some are very poor.  All of them need better editing.  But WaT is a fun game.  But big tanks can cause a problem; while the points were even the Panthers absolutely dominated the table.  So much so that 3/4 of the game through we gave the Americans 3 more tanks just to have chance...

We all had a fun night.  And it was great to see Dai in person again.  Good friends can pcik up right where they left off; rolling dice, playing games, and trading back handed compliments.  "You look good for someone your age."  "Dude, we're the SAME age."  

All Good Things Must End

Like my gaming streak, as I can see that the next 3 weekends are already booked with family events.  Like the best day in your life.  Like a vacation.  Like childhood, like this post.

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The McPherson's Ridge Project (part 2: The Cutting)

(Part 1 of the project can be seen HERE)

Oh... the ACW,
is the best CW,
so no old terrain will do.
For the ACW
the best CW,
we'll make hills perfect and new.

McPherson's Ridge Part 2

Or kinda perfect.  Mostly perfect.  Because having some imperfections is a form of enhanced perfection, or so I tell my wife about my personality.  

I've had a good chunk of hobby time of late; so am plowing along with the McPherson's ridge.

The 2 hills from part 1 are covered in ground cover and then painted brown.
The ground cover is a mix of fine ballast and coffee grounds.
The coffee grounds make the hills smell tempting.

Since I'm planning to cover these entirely with flock and grass, I'm not sure the texturing with ballast and coffee grounds is necessary.  I figure it couldn't hurt, and maybe provide some extra durability though this stuff is already pretty durable.  My original idea was to do the first two hills to completion as a proof of concept, so the next step would be to give a dry brush to the top and to flock them.  However it suddenly struck me that I was family free for two nights and therefore had the WHOLE house to myself.  Big open spaces that I could work in and walk around in my underwear.  So while the hills were drying I cut out the rest of the elevations.  Because what else was a I gonna do? paint miniatures?  Blech! Sounds awful.  

The pieces were sketched out on the foam and cut out following "the plan." 

"the plan"

When all was done, I laid them out on the playroom floor,
amazingly clean with the children not being home.

Put down some buildings where the ought to go (McPherson farm, Thompson house, and Lutheran Seminary), and stood back to take a looksee of how it was coming together.  Not too shabby.  

kinda looks like a cactus.
Or someone giving the bird.

It occurs to me that if I did a better job of rounding the top of the slopes then you probably wouldn't have that definition line that can bee seen on the painted hills, where the slope clearly hits the top.  I 'll need to work on that.  

Now hobby time is spent making a big mess
by cutting out the slopes with sharp things.
I can see why people who do this a lot invest in hot knife or wire cutter.
it gets tiring.

I still haven't cut myself though.

Got a few more slops to carve out, and then it will be sanding all the pieces, applying the ground texture and flocking.   So far, the whole project is bigger than I first expected but also going by much faster than I thought.  Kinda like being a parent.

Maybe in a month or so these might be ready for some FUN ACW gaming.

Speaking of Fun ACW Gaming

I had my first ever remote game with the unconquerable Jonathon Freitag, on the unmatched Palouse Wargaming Journal blog.  He's been doing a lot of remote gaming of late, and it always looks like fun, so selfishly I wanted IN on the action.  Especially when he started to set up an ACW (the best CW)  game.  I practically invited myself.  

Being a complete rookie to remote gaming,
I didn't take any pictures.  Not sure I even know how.
JF sent me some he took just so I'd have something
pretty to post.

I wouldn't say that I was skeptical about remote gaming, but I'll admit that I secretly thought that it wouldn't be as fun as in-person gaming.  That remote gaming was something you did when you couldn't get in real gaming.  That remote gaming is to real gaming as pornography is to sex.

And I was wrong, because it was DAMN fun.  It was so much fun that when the game was supposed to end at 9PM, I subtly suggested that we keep playing for awhile longer "because I wasn't going anywhere or had anything needing to do.....maaaaybe do another turn?"  

I played the Union.  Here we are pressing the attack.

There are several things that worked really well; Using hexes / grid makes it easy to move troops and probably cuts down on measuring and sentences like "move that unit to the left, little more.. maybe a little more... To far!  back to the right..."   I even got used to units facing the hex point versus the hex side.... like driving on the wrong side of the road.  The rules were simple and effective and I was able to pick them up pretty well.  But of course Jonathan did all the work and just told me what to roll.  I didn't even print out the QRS he sent me, what a rookie!

The biggest attraction to remote gaming is being able to have a game with other bloggers.  Many of us have been following and commenting on each others blogs for YEARS now, and I've often suspected that many of you would be fun to play games with.  I'm sure you've felt the same way about me.  I definitely am.  But it was very nice to put a face and a tone of voice to the name on the screen.  

The only thing that gnawed at me which I didn't become conscious of until about 3 quarters of the way through; was that Jonathon couldn't see my dice rolls.  I would just tell him how many successes I had.  I couldn't see his dice either (he would roll them on the table on camera but I couldn't read them).   I said something like "I feel weird that you can't see my die rolls."  He said "Why, are you tempted to fudge the numbers?"  "No," I said, "because I am a grown up and that would be stupid and what's the point?" 

We laughed.  But it's the only thing that I can think of now, that was in anyway, substantially different than playing games face to face.  I really don't think that dishonesty runs high in miniature wargamers, but there are horror stories.  It's not that I wanted to verify what Jonathan was rolling, but more like I missed the ability for him to verify what I was rolling. Especially when I was rolling HOT.   And I roll Hot a LOT.  

And in any game there are those moments when both players are paying close attention to the dice, and that aspect was kinda missing.  (Like your leader dies on a 4+, and we both watch the roll).  

Though I'm probably over thinking it; I'm making it sound like a bigger issue than it actually is.  Through work I spend a lot of time with lairs and manipulators, rapists and murders, so I think my mind has gone slightly twisted.  

I mean; cheat in games with your children so that they win once in awhile?  Sure.
cheat on your diet? once in  awhile.
cheat on taxes?  all the time.
cheat on your spouse? depends.
cheat in a miniature wargame?  NEVER.

I enjoyed my first remote game ever and that's largely thanks to Jonathan.  Game was fun and the company good.  Makes me want to play with more bloggers.  

Thanks for reading.
Double thanks for writing a comment.
Till Next Time.

(EDIT: Part 3 can be seen HERE