Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Klingon Armada - Actual play

This weekend I played an actual game for the first time in a long time. 

Stew, of the excellent blog A terrible Loss of Lead and Wealth, had suggested that he was interested in trying out some Star Trek-esque gaming, and we eventually hashed out a time to get together.  As long time readers know, I have been very slowly building up a couple of TOS era forces basically since the blog began.  Despite this long build up, I still needed to prepare for the game, and spent a number of evenings painting up a few more ships and some various tokens and such. I also put together a quick reference sheet, since there is no official one, and printed a play mat.  

Drone/Missile markers of two types

Federation shuttle markings

Newly painted D6 cruiser

Stew had a very lovely set up with shade and three tables that more than accommodated the 3x4 foot mat I printed off at work. He took the perfidious Federation and I took the noble warrior Klingons. 

CB New Jersey Class, CA Constitution Class, DD Saladin Class, FF Burke class

D7 class cruiser, 2 D6 class cruisers, F5 and E4 frigates 

Despite both being bloggers, we were more than a little caught up in the game and I only managed one picture of the game!  

Scene of destruction

Hopefully Stew took more pictures. 

The game played very smoothly, although we both agreed that drones (heavy missiles) seemed a bit pointless, since in the numbers used they hit nothing!  Maybe next time I will have to take a CAG variant to really pump them out.  We also tried out of a few of the more esoteric Trek technologies, but unfortunately my glorious boarding action merely eliminated the redshirts on the New Jersey, and did not capture the ship. 

I had a great time, and Stew said he was hooked, so there ought to be more games in the future. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

New Year, Same project

 Last year, I started on building an Eldar army, something I had long wanted to do.  The intent of this was to "quickly" build up a force to combat my kid's Space Marines.  I had collected the Eldar over a very long time, and with the interest in 8th/9th edition 40k and the kid's new Space Marine army, it seemed like time to get going. 

As it happened, I quickly outpaced the kid as return to in-person school soaked up the available free time.  (free-time that was not spent on Minecraft anyway).  This in turn slowed me down until it came to Dreadtober, where I bashed out a Wraithlord in a month.  I also added to the project with a Falcon, Autarch, and Howling Banshees. 

Here are the original project figures after about a year of work:

Clockwise from the top we have Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, a Warlock, Rangers, Swooping Hawks, and in the middle we have some Guardians.

Aside from the Dire Avengers, these are largely finished, with just gems and bases to go.  Since I plan to base everything at the same time AND am not 100% sure what I want to do, they have been in this state for a while.  The Dire Avengers need a bit more highlighting and work on the white of the helmet before they are at the same stage as the others. 

Now a logical, and sensible person would have stayed with the army as seen above, finished that, and then moved on to expansions on it (or the 1001 other projects I have piled up on my desk).  Instead, we had some scope creep.
Added to the army above we have a Wraithlord, Falcon, and Wraith Guard.  Bizarrely [or characteristically] these added items were finished before the original.  The Wraithlord is 100% done thanks to Dreadtober, and the Falcon just needs a base and sealer coat.  The Wraithguard only need basing. 

Also added to the army but not yet finished are the Howling Banshees, striking scorpions, and an Autarch. 

So what is next?  Well the 9th edition Eldar Codex is coming out in a month or so, and with it a ton of new kits.  I also have jetbikes, more guardians, more Swooping Hawks, support weapons, and a squad of War Walkers that I could/should add as well.  A Farseer would also be useful...  So plenty more to come, I just need to find the time. 

Monday, January 10, 2022


Happy Christmas and New Year to you, dear reader(s).

This year I was able to take off the whole week between Christmas and New Years, which was almost enough to relax, despite the best unmentioned here efforts of 2021 to drag us down right at the end.  

I got some good loot this year as well, and hope you did too. 
Putrid Blightkings, clay shapers, a D&D battle mat flip book, and some figures for a project I am definitely not doing. 

We managed to escape town for a few days to the mountains with the cousins, and I ran the kids through another two sessions of D&D.  Being kids they are a bit easy to distract, and being numerous, they argue about what to do, so we are not that far in the campaign.  They did get to roll dice though, so it was good. 

Flip book in action

Which did not stop me from introducing more side quests, some political intrigue, and to allow them to dual class when they leveled up. 

Aside from the stuff I got personally, we also got some family games, including family favorite Mille Bornes, as well as a few others that the kids got which are not shown here (an escape room puzzle, and a Nancy Drew mystery game).  

The kid also got a combat patrol, dreadnaught, and librarian, so at some point there will be enough marines to viciously slaughter my Eldar.  Of course by the time they are painted, the new Eldar codex and miniatures will be out, so maybe I can regain the upper hand?

Here is to a better 2022 for you and yours. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Christmas Knotty list

Well, nautical list at least.

Final ship boxed up for display

My dad is a huge fan of the Aubrey-Maturin book series, and since it has been a while since I beat my head against a wall, I thought I would try something new and challenging, like building and rigging a 1/700 ship, and then add a time limit to get something done for a Christmas gift.

The primary ship in the book series is the HMS Surprise, which is a real ship, modified for a longer life in the novels than it had in the real world.  The Surprise was a captured French Corvette, which was re-rated by the British Navy as a sort of frigate, although its service life was short, and it was paid out in 1802.  (the ship in the novels gets another 15 years of service)

I bought the files for the hull to 3d print, and while the files were good, the print was not, and I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the various strings and bubbles.  I had printed another ship's hull before as a practice, and that one turned out nicely, so it was probably something to do with our "winter" weather (40 degrees F and wet).  During the cleanup I broke off the catsheads.  I also printed a stack of ships boats that I modified from files found on Thingiverse, and added a lantern that I scratch built from a bit of plastic WHFB lance and some wire. 

3d printed ships can have 3d printed masts and sails, but being an idiot, I decided that I would scratch build my own masts and sails.  The masts were made from paper clips, plastic card, and thread.  At this stage I learned that I was literally incapable of tying the knots, and my wife helped by doing those. At least I got to work on my sailor language.  I also made sails from paper, which I painted, cut out, and then drooped on curved surfaces to approximate the billow of the sail. Spars were thinner paper clips and other assorted wire.

Masts finally finished, spars and sails drying

After getting the masts done, it was time to work on rigging the ship.  
I skipped knots completely, and went right to super glue, so it does not bear close inspection. 

I also made a pair of ratting looms in Tinkercad, which were much harder to use than I anticipated, and I had to press gang my wife again for this job. Getting the lines to have enough tension for glue to take hold was difficult. In the end, the ship only got one pair of rattings, rather than the eight or so that it should have. 

Reference materials

I was heavily inspired by A Miniatures Hobby Room, who happened to post a lovely British Frigate build that I saw in the middle of this process.  After crying in the corner for a while, I copied what I could, but fell woefully short. (and that is a smaller ship too!)

This is the largest picture that I took of the "finished" product

I was working on this down to the wire, with the ship being hot-glued into a baseball collectors box (80cm cube) and the box put into the bag about five minutes before we left for Christmas dinner. 

So what did I learn?  That tiny ships are very hard!  No fleets forthcoming from me. If you are planning to something similar, give yourself another week of time, since I think this could have turned out better with a bit more effort.

In the end, my dad did like the ship though, and put it straight away onto his display shelf, where it displaced a Lego helicopter that a grandson made some time ago.  So all is well that ends well.