Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

A belated Merry Christmas to you, dear readers.  I spent most of the holiday away in a mountain cabin, safe from shopping hordes and TV.  We played a couple of games of five player Settlers, and a ton of the new Mario for Wii U.

This year I got only a few gaming/modeling related items, although they were pretty great ones!

First, I got "The First Heretic" from my wife's cousins.  This is the next book for me in the Horus Heresy series, although at this point I believe that the series has devolved into more of a category, rather than a linear progression.  Looking forward to reading this one after I finish Embassytown.

Second, I got the AD&D dungeon master's guide from my wife, which was very cool and surprising.  I read this book for the first time last year, as you no doubt read here.  The particular copy that I got is in very good condition, was printed in 1979, and has a $10 price sticker on it from Toys R Us, clearly from the glory days when RPGs were stocked in what is now mostly a diaper and video game store.

The third modeling item I got is a Revell Republic Star Destroyer (Venator) from my sister and her family.  A kit I have long lusted over is at last mine!   Thank you Amazon lists!   At some point in the near future, I will have finally finished building the Baneblade, and will be able to move on to this kit as my "main" build. (Since the Baneblade took three years, I expect that this might take a while too).  I think that I will go big on this one, and try some super detailing, photo etch, and after market kit add-ons... maybe even light it!   So very excited about this, and expect to see more in the future.

Here is a pile of inspirational links for later:
Floating display base, not mine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

For the traveling DM

If you are a DM on the go, like analogue vs. digital products, and have a problem with losing dice, this may be a kickstarter that you are interested in...

Dice rings.  The outer ring spins around the inner ring, and then the number "rolled" is indicated by the arrow marks. 

$15 for the kickstarter buys you one "die", $90 to get a full D&D set, which is obviously a bit pricy.  However, a d100 ring is useful for quite a number of games, and also for making up statistics...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien

While in Vienna a few months back, we had the opportunity to stop in and visit the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum.  Located in the Arsenal complex south of the Altstadt, this museum has much of the ephemera of the Austrian Imperial Army from the last couple hundred years, as well as items from the Navy and some items from earlier periods.

The building complex itself is beautiful, and while it is currently a bit hard to get to, the train station nearby is being massively expanded, so I expect that it will be easier in the future.

Here are some pictures from the museum.

Outer building of the Arsenal complex

FG 42

Adversaries: American bomb and 88

Volkssturm arm band

Cool display of the whole Imperial navy in miniature

Naval Pistols

FN model 1910s... belonging to the Black Hand 

The car that Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was riding in when shot

Coat he was wearing when shot

The building is richly decorated, particularly the upper galleries

Regimental facings under Maria Teresa
Since we were in Vienna before Austrian National day, they were also setting up for a large army display in the Heldenplatz.  Most of the displays were not finished, but the soldiers were drilling, and some of the heavier equipment was set up already.

Vienna was about 1/3 destroyed in the war, and sometimes you can see remnants of that era, such as this flak tower now used as an aquarium:
It is always nice when you can make those you defeat in battle erect monuments to your fallen soldiers like this one:

Anyway, Vienna was a great city, and I would like to go back sometime when I have more time to get out into the countryside and see Wagram and other nearby battlefields.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hawk Wargames Terrain

Hawk Wargames, makers of the hot new 10mm sci-fi game Dropzone Commander, is coming out with a lovely line of buildings made from cast resin tiles.  The tiles are made in either commercial or residential sizes, and have a sort of vague 1930's art deco sci-fi look to them that I really fancy.  By mixing and matching the various lobby, wall, and cornice tiles, you get a pretty unique look for each building that still looks coherent.  Tiles are 36mm wide by 17mm or 21mm depending if they are commercial or residential, and the ground floors are double height.

Here are a few pictures linked from their site.

Expensive at roughly 75p a tile, but they look great, and while filling up a town would be costly, they could probably be used to "sci-fi" a N scale cityscape pretty easily, and certainly a backdrop of just building facades could be done reasonably.

Wish someone made this sort of terrain in 6mm... although I am afraid I would have to buy quite a lot of it if they did!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Festung Hohensalzburg

Our next stop in the retrospective tour through Europe is the fortress of Salzburg, known as the Festung Hohensalzburg.  The site looms over the city on the Mönchsberg, and was occupied by fortifications as early as the 1070s, and the major fortifications date from the 1500s.  The fortress was serviced by a cargo funicular as early as 1495, and had another funicular added in the 1890s to bring tourists up to the site. 

Here are a few pictures of the fortress, one of the remaining city gates (Sigmundstor), and the bastion across the river. Clicking should make them bigger.

Tourist Plaza

Capped battlement crenellations on this tower

View from the tower in to the garden

The fortress is pretty high up

Interior wall battlement

Looks pretty... until you see the machicolation above the gateway

Battlement drainage

As you can see, cannon could range the whole city

Hilt of an arming sword

Salzburg was always a most Catholic City

Festung over the town

Catacombs in the mountain side

Sigmundstor, cut through the mountain

Bastion wall watch

Fortress view from bastion

Former cannon port on bastion

Stairs and more stairs up the mountain

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

On our recent family holiday, we drove down from Frankfurt to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg is in northern Bavaria, and has a particularly well preserved medieval old town, and of interest to this blog, has its original walls.  These survived the end stages of the war due to an understanding on both sides of the historical value of the town.

We were not in town very long, but we did manage to see the town center, St. James, and walked a bit of the wall before we had to hurry on our way. I must say that I really wanted to work on a 10mm castle after seeing this town!

 Here are a few picture highlights for your Saturday perusal:
Pedestrian Gateway.  Check out that stone work, not as regular as you might think from looking at models.
St. James' doorway with inset smaller door
Narrow streets
Altar cover in St. James'.  Interesting for the costumes depicted aside from its beauty

Tower over the gate
Gun loop in the wall
Some lovely tile texture ideas here
Wall walk
This view of the wall shows how it has changed over the years, and that it probably had a fighting platform previously.
Wall with fall ivy
Cobblestones around an old well
I have some more of these if there is interest in any of the particular subjects.
Upcoming: faux-castles, a fortress, and the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum.