Monday, January 16, 2017


Not a busy toy soldier day, reading Charles Grant's The Wargame again.  have cast up a lot of lead in PA molds over the last week.  figure I need another hundred pound tub!  waiting until payday so I can afford to restock my enamel paints...  Here's a pic of the workbench.
ventilation fan, melting pot and Prince August molds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New; actually using my Blog!

Hey Readers!  
     Welcome.  I've not posted anything here in ages, but feel like starting up again, if just to get away from that Facebook thing.  Lots of things have happened to me in the past several years; not least is that I've moved twice, lived an Alaska Winter in a Camper with no Heater (thank god for electric space heaters), gotten Gay Married (to a goddess), Goblin the kitty has passed on, as has Prissy the Dachshund, and we now live with two new very sweet and loving mutts; Rocket and Duchess, in a cozy two bedroom with heat and bad water (OK for washing, not safe to drink), and I'm grateful for our blessings.  The Parkinson's is not worsening perceptibly so far, and the meds are helping keep me in painting trim.  That should do for a catch-up on the backstage to Toy Soldiers, er, Figures!!
     I've been slowly putting together two Civil War corps in 54mm.   Eventually there should be a balanced force of Rebels and Union figures, about 6 foot regiments, 2 Cavalry, and an Arty battery each...  I'm tinkering together an old school set of rules based on ideas from Wells and Stevenson.  
Here's a few pics of what I've finished so far;


The figures aren't really customized much, they're BMC, and the biggest custom work was on the flags, which are made by using the tin lids of sour cream tubs and thickening them with putty...

Next is the 18th Mass; in the special French Chasseur uniforms awarded by General  McClellan for winning a shooting contest.  The US bought a large number of these chasseur uniforms from France during the opening rush to uniform and equip a Union Army...turned out that French sizes were mostly too small for American farmboys, and few of the unforms were issued.  18 Mass was one of the lucky units.  These guys were heavily customized from BMC figures...

Here's how the figures looked under construction;

As you can see; lots of Plumber's Putty and Milliput went into this regiment.  also a lot of sawing apart figures, chopping heads and so on.  I think it was worth it though...the results seem pretty good.

I did up a Wisconsin Black Hat Regiment for a it's not in my little corps, but still, was done since the last post...

The flag guy is conte, but the rest are BMC customs; I made the little hats from foil and putty, ditto for blanket rolls totally forgot about the gaiters, and kick myself every time I see them...the Black Hat's usually wore white gaiters, and it slipped by my quality control...  grrr.  the US on the canteens is wrong also; I guess they SHOULD have hand painted company letters, or nothing...oh well, next time...

So, on to the progress with the Confederates;  Here's the 21st Georgia;
again heavily customized BMC figures...with a smattering of parts from Ja Ru's new imex clones...

I discovered that thin strips cut from yogurt lids makes great sword blades, they flex which means they don't break as easy as other things I've tried, are quick to make, and look fine all painted up.

Here's my 15th Alabama; I really like the guy in the bicorne...otherwise kinda boring BMC guys.

Not a huge custom project on these; I started by recycling some figures left from an earlier regiment

This guy shows pretty clearly how I prime figures for painting up; I coat them in Polyurethane Polyshades varnish; walnut in this case, then the acrylics go on, then a wash of white glue tinted with coffee, then a nice clear polyurethane varnish finish.

Lastly, I got these done; Avery's Georgia Cavalry.  They're customized from BMC figures too...

and you can see an example here of how I store them, and the little tags I like to put under the base with my signature.  The box is a corn dog box covered in brown paper from a paper grocery bag.  

Paper labels on the fronts let me stack them up on shelves and still see which is which...

As you can guess, it takes me a long time to do a single regiment, so I don't think I'm going to finish my whole project in my lifetime...but it's great to have goals, right? 


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just positing a little teaser, Perry's Paper model m2a3 recolored for the Second Polyester Freestate

Saturday, April 7, 2012

a interesting game

I recently found this - Three Plains a wargame with free rules and free to print off models to play the game with, which is a very cool thing! Looking at its rules, it seem to be a lot like Warhammer Fantasy in some ways. Here's the link for you guys to check it out for yourselves.

Get Three Plains a bit like Warhammer Fantasy

new free fantasy wargame

Hi, Ran into this lovely site with a free Warhammerish fantasy wargame. It's a fascinating way to present a wargame I think. Lots and lots of free downloadable print and play miniatures!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mechs in Warplay

Funny, I began Warplay as an effort to play Battletech cheaply with dollarstore armymen, tanks and guns, and Dougram/robotech model kits. Well, so much for cheaply since the price of Dougram kits and toys (Robotech and anything else distantly related to battletech) has skyrocketed over the last 10 years. Addto that apartment living and having abandoned a huge collection not once but twice has set me irretrievably back in building a playscale army.
As my ideas for both Warplay and Ornria have evolved I'd sort of got away from the idea of mechs in my game. But I must admit that after reading Sir Liddel-Hart's history of WWII, and then some history of both Italian and German development of armor theory, and seeing some 1/144 scale Valkyrie knock-offs in the local 5 and 10 store, and more recently copies of Gundam 1/144 figures I got to revising my thoughts...
I've come up with some new ideas about the Role of 'Mechs on the Ornrian battlefield. These thoughts are given in this "white paper" from the Battlemech Utility Review Board, assembled by the Grand Armee of the IInd Polyester Freestate last year.

Battlemechs are extremely costly, involving a number of niche technologies,off-world imports, and expensive resources limiting local on-world production. It is impractical for the Freestate, or any Ornrian military to field many of them no matter how tactically powerful an individual machine might be.
What then justifies their existence? What role on the battlefield can they perform as no other machine can? Two schools of thought exist.
The first is the "Mecha" school. This school holds that Mechs are best used as a form of mobile infantry, relying on the ability to cross obstacles while carrying heavy weaponry in a self supporting infantry role. It is thought that these will be especially useful tools for urban fighting, and would be ideal in anti-mech combat, proponents envisioning giant metal Judo-fighting machines.
This ignores the ability of modern weapons to neutralize large slow moving mechs with aircraft, artillery and infantry anti-armor weapons. Proponents counter these arguments with the idea that Mechs would combine infantry and armor in such a way as to make both arms obsolete and extinct.
In this school Mech units predominate the army, organized into divisions with company sized infantry or armor units attached for security duties, and mechanized artillery for fire support at division level or higher. Opponents to this theory point out that supply and financial problems would limit the Freestate from ever accumulating enough machines to create uniform bodies larger than a couple of Regiments in size, never mind the quantities required for divisions. Further, to fill this envisioned role, the machines being sought - over 100 tons and mounting large arrays of high caliber weapons, would cripple the factory supply system, and prevent armament manufacturers from supplying necessary small arms and field gun ammunitions to existing conventional units. The need for scarce fusion plants required for currently produced mecha models also draws on stocks required to supply our wet and space Naval units, though home-grown Mecha models might be equipped with internal combustion engines at a reduction in both the armor and firepower required for effective fulfillment of the envisioned role. In addition the re equipping of the currently available offworld-built mechs would cost a fortune, gobble up domestic engine production, crippling the other services, and leave the revised machines vulnerable to anti-armor weapons via their increased heat signatures. Lastly the ICE equipped Mecha would require the same fuel supply and mechanical support as the larger units of conventional armor. Such a supply force would slow down active operations at the front and theater scale. Such an army would be highly vulnerable to rapid penetrations by conventional forces. Strategic and tactical bombing and even mere airborne infantry could cripple Mecha units simply by occupying or destroying fuel and ammunition stockpiles, or interdicting the roads and airfields necessary to supply the Mecha.

The Second model, called here the "Cavalry" school, sees Mecha as the modern equivalent of Dragoons, or mounted infantry of the American West. Smaller forces of Mecha; Companies or Battalions, can be airlifted or space-dropped behind enemy lines. The superior mobility of such units combined with the minimum of logistical requirements of Fusion powered 'Mechs armed with energy weapons means that these units are ideal for rapid penetration and disruption missions.
The speed and firepower of rapidly moving 'Mechs placed behind enemy formation; breaking pockets of resistance, disrupting headquarters units, splitting up and crushing enemy defense efforts, neutralizing heavy artillery, raiding airbases and supply depots and being able to link up advancing friendly units gives one an unparalleled offensive arm.
During defensive operations the high mobility again comes to the fore, reserve units of mecha can be rapidly inserted into the line rather in the fashion of fire fighters, supporting infantry about to break, blunting enemy offensives, and making hasty bulwarks to protect and stabilize weakened sectors. The ideal 'mech advantageously combines maximum mobility with firepower, not to be wasted in toe to toe assaults with other mechs or anti mech armored vehicles. Mechs in static roles are always going to be vulnerable to attacks greater than the ability of their armor to resist. Battlefield Atomics and Thorsats (unpowered missiles of depleted uranium dropped from orbit) can defeat even the thickest plates available, while infantry destroying the legs with man-portable anti-armor weapons or large "tiger-traps" and mines will negate the heaviest of mechs.
The proper place for a 'mech is hammering a force already pinned by conventional units, secretly preparing positions behind enemy forces that airborne infantry can capitalize on, capturing supply points, cutting communications, quietly observing for artillery and air-strikes, then moving to the next key location overland before the road-bound enemy can respond.
Behind our own lines, light and fast mechs can corral penetrating forces, pinning them in place until heavier conventional forces or air forces can bring them down.
Thus envisioned it can be seen that Mecha needs to be employed in units small enough to evade but large enough to be effective. The minimum force should be 3 Mechs, any smaller and the firepower advantage is lost, and a force larger than 20 would be unwieldy in field conditions. A company of 5 to 9 machines, organized into Battalions of 2 to 3 companies is ideal. All units must be Fusion powered, fast, and jump equipped for maximum mobility. Energy weapons are vastly preferred, though low in penetration and with small anti-personnel value they maximize logistical independence. Units may be issued preloaded missile launchers and "hand" carried heavy weapons (rail-guns are ideal in this role as the ammunition is smaller so more can be carried) drawn from Regimental or Divisional stocks for missions requiring heavy fire support, but this should be discouraged in favor of lasers and particle beams wherever possible.
The operational use of 'Mechs in the Cavalry school does not diminish the traditional Roles of Infantry, Armor, or Air, but complements them and increases their effectiveness. The return for the investment of Military Resources is much greater than in the competing philosophy, and the inherit contradictions in the power/armor/speed/supply ratio are simply avoided.
Therefore It is the Recommendation of the Battlemech Utility Review Board that the Armee immediatly form a battalion for the training and development of battlemech warfare techniques modeled on the Cavalry Plan.
It is further recommended that the organization of this Battalion be independant of the other branches of service. Since horse cavalry nomenclature has previously been granted to the Cavalry Branch this new branch will need new nomenclature. It is hereby suggested that Battlemech units be formed as "Gendarmes" of the Freestate, equipped and supplied in the traditional way; to wit, Each Gendarme Regiment given a depot town to equip and supply it. Ideally, these Gendarme Regiments should be made of a single active battalion, divided into two companies of three lances. Each regiment in addition must be equipped with it's own organic mechanical/maintenance support unit in the form of a mobile "stable".
The Stable will be a mobile machine shop capable of repair, upgrade, and upkeep on all it's assigned mecha.
Each Gendarme Regiment will include a Headquarters lance equipped with a command and control mech for the Regiments CO. and with heavy weapons/anti-mech armed mecha for local fire superiority, though it is intended that conventional aerospace and artillery assets will be utilized to the maximum extent.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ornria backstory

Hi there.
I'm keeping this blog as a sort of journal of my development of my Imagination of Ornria. I've decided to make it a Battletech world and fit it into my idea of the Battletech Universe. In other words, I'm going to play battletech on Ornria.
So I've got some ideas about the possible backstory.
Early in the Exodus a firm was created with the aim of developing a way to rapidly terraform a "near-garden" world. The firm had some ideas, but they needed the kind of experimentation that the Terran Hegemony wouldn't like. Governments have all that regulation red-tape, you know?
So...our company does a bit of prospecting for a trashy little world it can mold. All it needs is a place hard get too and hopefully well hidden from Earth by some dirty dark old nebulae. Turns out the universe has quite a number of them, though ones in the "habitable zone" are rarer, and ones with the ability to support life without being, well, Alive? That is the hard thing. Since the Hegemony frowns on Terraforming planets with an existing ecosystem, evasion of the regulatory controls was considered...and adopted. Thus was the fate of Ornria decided.
Oh, yeah, Ornria. Well the prospector who found the world of which ConglomCo dreamed was Oriel Nesbut. Or. N. in ConglomCo paperwork. So planet OrN was duly named OrN1a. You get the idea?
Now OrN1a was circling an old main sequence yellow star, gone a bit orange with age, in an ecliptic with a couple of other worlds; 3 or 4 rock balls and 2 minor Gas Giants, and a vast amount of rocky debris. An asteroid cloud if you will.
The greedy bastards in the home office smiled grinchily...
Ornria was orbiting about 3/4 AU from it's sun, happily minding it's own buisness, it's fauna doing thier thing, which mainly consisted of eating something else and breeding before being eaten. The activity we call living in short. One creature, it was noted, had a penchant for making tools and building shelters. Well, the documentation of this species was...lost. Ok, a xenobiologist had been tipped off, and had collected a few interesting specimens and vids.... Horrible how accidents can end promising careers isn't it?
Back to my story. ConglomCo spent a fortune on Heavy Equipment. I do mean awsome, g.i.normous vast machines. Rockets for moving large asteroids.
Ornria it must be said was a tad small. It's atmosphere full of gasses people don't breathe, and though the native animalst loved it, it just didn't go with the drapes if you know what I mean.
A good breathable Oxygen atmosphere, with clouds of water vapor, and lots of lakes and oceans of liquid water were what ConglomCo wanted, but they just didn't fit on the Mercury sized ball. Therefore, they just made the ball bigger.
Yeah, one day something bluegreen and mostly slimy was chewing some kind of canned spinachy looking breakfast when....WHOMPUS! It had a KT event change the tenor of it's remaining seconds of existence. Never mind the mess, ConglomCo's math had placed a bunch of big rocks right where they were needed and Viola! Instant One Gee! Icy cometoids were brought in next to supply the O2 and the water needed. In 30 years the cake was mixed and in 50 years more it was, erroneously, declared baked.
Well, ConglomCo, rubbing it's hands together in greedy joy, but eyeing the dwindling investment penny bank decided to rush phase II. Plants and animals, many genetically engineered (spared no expense) were thrown down to root in the rumbling unstable soil. drilling and fusion bombs helped stablize the Earthquake problem a bit and the ribbon was cut.
ConglomCo was set to make a fortune selling Shake and Bake planets with it's wonderful new technologies. Except. Notes and papers and videos have a bad habit of re-appearing, and the accusations of xenocide sort of pushed investment capital away, and ConglomCo found itself broke.
In the bankruptcy proceedings the secret world got tied up in court until the end of the Hegemony itself.
The title lapsed, and it sort of fell off the map. It had actually never even really been on the map so no one noticed.
a few small references to it pop up in fragmentary records of Star League vintage. The only one that matters much is a transfer of capital indicating the sale of mineral rights within the system to a firm whose holdings were acquired in a leveraged buy out which was then purchased by another company at auction, then possibly traded to a subsidiary that put the assets of the firm into the personal portfolio of a cousin to the Marik family. A memo attatched to the note declares that an inspection of the property found it uninhabitable, and the mineral deposits not worth the expense. Presumably due to the constant earthquakes. In the Star League Register of Inhabited Worlds the following year, Ornria does not show up at all.
Breathable air, liquid water, and Earthlike flora and fauna won't be wasted no matter how inaccessible or unstable. People, mostly from nearby Marik space filtered in and settled. They grew used to the volcanism and rocking about and squatting on this rough gem built homes of a sort. Homes become parts of communities, and communities form towns and associations, and nations. Today Ornria is comfortably inhabited, the home of a few small states and nations. They owe no allegiance to the great houses, and in fact are scarcely aware of them. From time to time anonymous battlemech raiders drop in to liven up the day of armies otherwise engaged in lackadaisically fighting with one another.
Farmers do thier best in the wan light of the sun to coax a meager crop to feed the small cities, and life goes on.