Sunday, June 29, 2014

State of the Painting Desk

With momentum up having finished the two Reconquista heavy cavalry stands, I hoped to finish one more unit before the first half of 2014 drew to a close.  While weekend home projects, gaming, guests, and cycling kept me away from the painting desk for longer than anticipated, work did progress on a few units.  Unfortunately, none of these will make it into the "Completed" column before 01 July.  Oh well, I will have a jump on next month's painting tallies.

On the workbench today are works for four different projects.  What projects do I have in work?  The four units in work comprise: 18mm SYW Prussian musketeer, 28mm US infantry for Spanish-American War, 28mm French Chasseurs a Cheval, and 28mm Arabs.

In the foreground is one BTD Trojan chariot that arrived with this week's BTD order.  The chariot assembly is somewhat fiddly to assemble and I scratched my head wondering how to attach the trace to the cart but I believe I have it.  Initial inspection suggests that the BTD chariot dwarfs the Old Glory chariots completed earlier.  I will confirm how these disparate chariots look side-by-side once the BTD piece is finished.
Painting Desk 29JUN2014
A closer glance at the center tray shows eight Front Rank horses (in the background) that will be used in carrying an equal number of French Front Rank Chasseurs a Cheval.  In the foreground are 15 Old Glory SAW U.S. infantry.  While I have painted many Old Glory Spanish from this range, these are my first Americans for the conflict.  The Old Glory Americans exhibit excellent sculpting with much character.  These could be my favorite Old Glory 28mm figures and I have seen and painted many of the ranges!
SAW US infantry and horses for French cavalry

Next up are 23 Blue Moon AWI Hessians to be fielded as SYW Prussian musketeers.  With the lemon yellow cuffs, waistcoat, and breeches, these lads will muster out as the first battalion of the 10th Musketeer Regiment. 
Blue Moon SYW Prussian Musketeers
Finally, twelve 28mm Artizan Black Guard Moors from the El Cid range are seeing action on the work bench.  In this photo, I made a bit of progress from the overall desk shot above.

Artizan Black Guard
With the first half of 2014 ending and painting totals in the book, it is time to look back and see what I managed to paint thus far in 2014.  With no new "major" project to drive painting and increased travel, totals will be down over last year.  The answer to how much output has dropped will be left until after I crunch the numbers.  Expect a battery of analytics in the future and then you be the judge. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

28mm Reconquista - More Heavy Cav!

Following close on the heels of the white caparisoned heavies (Phil, thanks for the addition to my wargaming lexicon), one five-figure stand of black barded heavy horsemen gallop off the painting desk.  The heavy cavalry balance begins to even out against my adversary's collection.  These are BTD figures as was the prior batch and based for Impetvs.

A number of other elements are seeing activity at the painting desk from an assortment of projects.  Which will make it off the table next?

Also attended a 25mm Mex-American game at Terry's today.  Terry provided suggestions for the uniforms for the Scruby Mexican infantry I recently purchased.  The game was a variation on the Battle of Cerro Gordo fought earlier (chronicled here).  Mexican army went down to defeat (again).  I have yet to see the Mexicans win a battle under RFF.  Details to follow...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Samurai Battles Project in Review

My 17th Century Japanese Samurai Battles project began at the close of 2012 after a series of exciting games hosted by Jake.  Jake's games were such good fun and his collection so colorful that I could not resist fielding my own forces.  As often happens, the desire to field a few units as an addition turned into a full-fledged project.  Looking at the size of some of my collections, history does, indeed, seem to repeat itself.

One blog follower mentioned that he would enjoy seeing the Samurai Battles collection as it currently musters.  Well, Black Powder, this one is for you!

The project has been growing in a somewhat regulated manner.  That is, I build the forces in (what I consider) brigade strength.  Each brigade contains two light or missile elements (teppo/bow), two medium shock elements (spear/sword), one heavy shock foot (Samurai), and one heavy shock horse (Samurai).  At this stage, three complete brigades can be fielded with a forth nearing completion.  Banners for Ashigaru are the same within each element and brigade but Samurai banners are rendered individually.  

Now, for a montage of the collection...

While a good-sized force, much still remains to complete.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

28mm Reconquista - Heavy Cav

In an effort to thwart my opponent's heavy cavalry superiority, off from the painting desk is a five figure stand of heavy cavalry.  These white-barded knights could be fielded in either faction but my plan is to field them as Christian mercenaries when opposing Jake.  Figures are all BTD from the 3rd Crusade range.  This stand of mounted warriors was close to completion before I left for a week.  Very good to return to the painting table after a break with a unit nearing completion.  Of course, on the gaming front, we simply need to work out the logistics of getting our schedules to align for a game.

For the Reconquista project, there are currently two units on the painting desk.  One, is another five figure stand unit of heavy cavalry.  The second, is  a twelve figure stand of Black Guard foot.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Vancouver B.C. Weekend

After a week away for business and pleasure, I return home to hopefully pick up the brushes again after first getting the household activities caught up.

The work week was spent at the home office in the Seattle area for both business and to attend a workshop.  In my usual routine, I would be driving back to Spokane Friday evening but not this week.  My wife flew over Thursday night and after a half day in the office on Friday, we loaded up and drove to Vancouver B.C. for the weekend.

Why a diversion to Vancouver?  Well, we had tickets to a concert Friday night at Rogers Arena.  Coincidentally, the B.C. Lions held their opening pre-season game at the same time on the same block.  Interesting mix of concert-goers and football fans.  The hot dog stand at Costco was doing a brisk business with a line of hungry grid-iron fans queueing up around the block.  
Vancouver waterfront
Vancouver is quite a beautiful city.  The weather was perfect in the mid-70s F and public transportation is fast and easy.  The last time I was in Vancouver was for the World's Fair in '86.  I don't recall much from that trip nearly 30 years' ago but I do recall the Canada Pavilion which remains today as a waterfront icon.  On Saturday two cruise ships were birthed on either side of the pavilion.
Canada Pavilion
View across harbor to North Vancouver
with float plane coming in for landing
View across harbor towards Vancouver and pavilion 
On the hobby front, Vancouver (or Richmond) maintains a well-stocked Bricks and Mortar hobby store in Imperial Hobbies.  The shop is housed in a strip mall but the quantity of inventory stuffed into that store is amazing.

Now, I have not stepped into an actual hobby store in years but is was good to be able to browse up and down the aisles.  I saw many items of interest especially some fine JR Miniatures buildings and piles of Hotz Mats but the prices gave me a bit of sticker shock.  Yikes!  That store is expensive!  The only purchase I came away with was the latest issue of WSS and it had a sticker price $2 higher than the MSRP.

Even with a drive time of about nine hours, I won't wait 30 years to return.  Next time, we plan to bring the bikes along so that we can ride around the city and take advantage of the expansive Stanley Park.  We saw many transit riders with bikes on both the trains and ferries.  Should be fun!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sforza Castle - Armor Museum

One of the places I wanted to revisit while in Milan at the end of our recent 2014 trip was the Sforza Castle.  When we visited in 2009, we walked the grounds but did not have time to tour the museums within the castle, itself.  With a day and a half in Milan at the end of the trip, that would change.

Sforza Castle is only a short walk from the center of Milan and the city centerpiece of the Duomo.  The fortress was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza then the Duke of Milan.  the 15th century fortress was built upon the remains of an earlier, 14th century fortress.  At one time, it was one of the largest citadels in Europe.

Today, it houses several museums including an armor museum.  The armor room contains an interesting variety of arms and armor including several suits of three-quarter cuirassier armor with two-tone metal work.  

Note detailing on morion


Note the stock inlays