Friday, September 21, 2012

A Hobbit's Second Breakfast

I missed Talk Like a Pirate Day. I didn't forget, I just didn't the time and was not in the mood to talk like a pirate. But, I don't plan to miss today's  The Hobbit Second Breakfast day! Its in honor of the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The website even has suggestions for the menu. At 11 am, I think I will grab an extra english muffin and toast (ha!) the wonder that is Tolkien's fantasy world!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

!st Armored Division: 1st Royal Guard Dragoons

Like the Royal Guard Cuirassiers of the 1st Armored Division, the Royal Guard Dragoons are the best of the best, and get the best of the best as far as weapons go. After many evaluations including all-expense paid trips to various global arms fairs and weapons contractors by the top brass and defense ministers, it came down to the AIFV a.k.a the YPR 765, versus the Italian VCC 80, better known as the Dardo IFV. It was a tough choice, but the Dardo won out for several reasons. First, it has a higher power/weight ratio.  Lots of soft ground on the mini-continent of Gambusia, so that is an advantage. Second, although both have a 25mm gun, the Dardo can be upgraded with two TOW ATGMs mounted on either side of the turret (Dardo HITFIST). The AIFV ATGM is a separate, purpose-built TOW launcher (known as the YPR 765 prat) that lacks the gun turret. It is very similar to the US M901 ITV. Southern brass decided to have have the added firepower of both the 25mm gun and the ATGMs in one vehicle. The Southern Chalupastan Army has only recently embraced ATGMs, so they were reluctant to spend money on a purpose-built ATGM AFV. Third, the Dardo has a purpose-built mortar carrier. The YPR 765 has a version that only tows a mortar. Although Northern Chalupistan is a long-standarding threat to the South, all of the current combat operations to this point have been against rebels in the Central Highlands province. Mortars are used in close support of infantry rather than as long range artillery, so its better that the mortar and its crew be protected, and have the ability to quickly scoot if things got rough.

In miniature terms, only Heroics & Ros makes the Dardo. Several companies make the AIFV. Unfortunately, H&R makes only the the basic model. Here are the Royal Guard Dragoons on parade:

 It was easy to make the HITFIST version. Taking styrene square rods (square that possible?), I cut out the box-like TOW launchers of the appropriate length, and then glued them to the sides of the turret.

It was hard to get the TOW launchers perfectly lined up, but they don't look too bad from a distance.

The mortar carrier version of the Dardo is more of a problem. First, I have yet to find a good picture of one, let alone any sort of diagram to work from. Second, I am not sure how to even begin grinding away at a metal figure to get a square bathtub to hold the mortar. With my luck, it would look like a mess. I don't even know if its square; it could be round. So, I cheated and got some Argentine VCTP(M) mortar carriers from Scotia-Grendel as stand ins. Other than being tracked, they don't look anything like a Dardo, but they will do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Big Ugly Dude

As I mentioned in a post in early August, I went back to Chicago to visit family and to pick up a bunch of things. Along with my collection of board games, I brought back some figurines that I had painted, including this guy:

I can remember everything about him except who made him. I got him out of a bargain bin at a Little Wars convention. He was in among a number of other 25mm fantasy figures, including some Empire of the Petal Throne guys. He is clearly a step up, painting-wise from my Fellowship of the Rings beginnings. He was also done at the time when I switched from enamels to acrylics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unpainted Figure Cries Out in Anguish

15mm Orc stoically awaits painting while Loctite superglue looks on in sympathy

Monday, September 3, 2012

Does This Ever Happen to You?

The above title sounds like the beginning voice over for an ad for some sort of Made for TV product, but its fitting for my brief rant. Recently, I took advantage of GHQ's latest special deal that they offer. You buy $50 or more of figurines and you get 15% off. There were a few things that I really wanted to get. They've been coming out with a number of South African AFVs that I really like. There wasn't enough to make the $50, so I added a few other things to the order. To make a long story, short, when my order came I discovered that I already had some of the items from previous orders!  They aren't figurines that I need in large abundance, either.

As I rifled through my storage boxes looking to see if there were any more duplicates, another thing I discovered was that there were pieces of microarmor that I either couldn't identify what they were, and/or couldn't identify the manufacturer that made them. I've never been known as Mr. Organization, but I've always been pretty good at remembering what something was. I guess my memory is going. 

So, I decided to make an inventory of all my figurines. It doesn't matter what stage of production they are in: unpainted, painted, based, etc. I'm going to start with the microarmor and then move to other collections. Good thing there are spread sheets. I am also going to aggressively label my boxes. I have in the past, and most or my WWII stuff is labeled, but I have not gotten around to labeling a lot of the modern stuff. I am not sure how long this is going to take, but its like periodically cleaning your workbench. You don't really want to to do it, but it needs to be done.