Monday, April 19, 2010

A Magnificant Obsesssion

Lately, I've been so swamped with work and family activities that I have had little time to sit down and work on anything. The nice thing about my earlier post on making the bamboo forests is that they were very quick and easy to do. How to soothe those primal hobby urges? Answer: Shipbucket! If you haven't been there, check it out! These folks digitally draw warships of all nations and time periods, but focus on WWII to Modern. They are sticklers for details and accuracy, but the results show up in superbly-rendered ship illustrations.

Well, I took the plunge. I wanted to do some illustrations for my Gambusia campaign. I have not done much yet, but here is the results so far. These are before and after pictures:

Imperial Class Corvette

Above is my original drawing of a modern corvette built by Northern Chalupistan. It was done in Adobe Illustrator. Nothing too exciting. One big problem is that I just slapped radar antennae all over the thing. I had no clue about the types of radar that are needed. I really had to research my radars for my first rendering of my corvette in Shipbucket style:

Ship,Northern Chalupistan,Drawing

The folks on the Shipbucket forum pointed out various things that could be done to make it better. First,they mentioned that ships of this size are not big enough for anti-sub warfare, so I got rid of the torpedo tubes, and added an extra gun. The SSMs were oriented in such a way that the sailors would be unable to walk around them! They also suggested a SAM instead of the rear 20mm AA gun. So, then the ship evolved into this:

Ship,Northern Chalupistan

Making shipbucket illustrations is a little like building a highly detailed model. The nice thing is that I can work on them anywhere and anytime I have a chance. Will this replace minis? No way, but it is fun and challenging to do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Story So Far

DISCLAIMERS: All of this is just fictitious silliness and I do not endorse war. The nations and events are made up just for the purposes of moving small, miniatures around a table to pretend to blow each other up for juvenile fun.

The Second Chalupistan War has been rather slow so far. Between my schedule, which is always bad in during the spring semester (it doesn't help that I am now the head of my department), and my friend Karl's (who was the only person I could recruit for this pbem campaign), there has not been a whole lot going on. Here is a summary of events:


Time (hrs)



1 RF-5 TigerEye recon fighter of the 11th Squadron of the SCAF is shot down just north of the Central Highlands province by a NCAF MiG 21 while attempting to photograph rebel bases in Northern territory.


After a vote by the UN Security Council failed to bring sanctions to Southern Chalupastan for the incursion into the Northern Chalupistan's airspace last fall, the Northern Chalupistan ambassador to the UN gives a fiery speech at the General Assembly, condemning both the United States and Southern Chalupastan. He then spits on the floor and storms out of the General Assembly room. There is stunned silence for at least 5 minutes.

Later that day, Northern Chalupastan Minister of the Interior announces that all American and Southern Chalupastan citizens currently in Northern Chalupistan must leave the country in 24 hours. Anyone remaining will be consider a spy and held for questioning.


(Day 1)


A jet liner carrying the Prime Minister of Northern Chalupastan explodes just as it was landing in the South's capital, Chalupa City, on a historical diplomatic mission. Many on ground are killed or seriously injured, including the Viceroy of Southern Chalupastan and top government officials. At that same time, an airliner bound to the Southern city of Nopales explodes as it is about to land. Fortunately, there were no casualties on the ground.

Day 1


2 Kfir C7s of the 1st Squadron of the SCAF were shot down over waters southeast of coastal city of Puerto Anguila while intercepting Northern naval attack aircraft consisting of 2 Saab Gripen jet fighters and 3 Dassault Super Etendard attack fighters of the 1st Naval Squadron from the aircraft carrier NCS Roc.

Day 1


Chalupa City is bombed by Super Entendard attack bombers. Damages include the Viceroy’s palace, parliament building, a hospital, and a railroad station.

Day 1


The NCS Roc (location unknown) radar contact detects a surface vessel about 20 miles north of the carrier traveling east. By 1245 hrs, it turns and heads north out of radar contact. The Roc's captain radios Northern Supreme HQ for orders, but there is no response.

Day 1


NCS Roc launches a KA-27 helicopter to make visual contact with ship and identify the unknown ship.

Day 1


The KA-27 makes contact, and ship identifies itself as the Japanese fishing trawler Namazu Sabiki. Another call gets a response from Northern Supreme HQ. Orders are to watch the ship and to attack it only if it makes a hostile response.

We are still on Day 1 of the campaign. The most recent miniatures gaming was the air combat game that I reported about in an earlier post. I am still waiting for the OOB of the Northern Army for Karl's invasion of Southern Chalupastan, dubbed Operation: Ike & Tina.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"One that looks nice...and is not too expensive."

A few weeks ago, maybe it was longer, there was a posting on the message board of TMP (not to be confused with TMZ) about making micro-scale bamboo forests. How to make them are are at the TwoThreeSixMM blog. The motive behind them was to have a really dense stand that was hard for troops to get through. They are quick and easy and come out looking really nice. Being that my micro armor campaign takes place in a tropic/semi-tropic setting, these would be good to have on the battlefields. My own version uses small nails, which may be too thick, but still look pretty good:
1" Nails embedded in thick cardboard

I first snipped off the bottoms of the nails with a heavy-duty pair of pliers. I drilled some small holes into thick cardboard and then glued them on with super glue. I varied the dimensions of the cardboard.

Nails and base after painting

I then painted them a light brown. Yeah, bamboo is supposed to be green when alive, but this seems to look better. Once dry, I then flocked. The first one, I actually made each tree individually and then glued them on, one at a time (Old World craftsmanship), but that took forever, plus I couldn't really tell one from another in terms of foliage. So, for the next one, I just poured on the superglue over the tops of the nails and dunked the whole thing in to the flocking material.

Here is the finished product:

Forest after flocking

I also used pins with the big plastic heads on them. Here is the result of that method:

In a lot of ways, the pin-trees look better than the nail-trees, but it was faster to make the nail trees. I might do some more pin-trees. I'll use both....two different species of bamboo. They still need to have some sort of ground cover, but they are fine for now.