Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Flooded Hobby Closet

So late last week I noticed a damp spot out in front of my hobby closet, but just assumed it was left by the wife as she was leaving the shower.  However, by the next day it was much bigger (it had spread into the walk in closet) and I knew we had an issue.  Luckily it doesn't appear to be a ruptured pipe in the wall and most likely came from a neighboring unit (they have to pay for damages if caught, so we think they performed a cover up cleaning on their side, as it was miraculously water free) . However, the water was seeping from under the wall in the back of the hobby closet, which means the shelving and everything on it had to come out for the clean up.  I'm happy to report no figures or terrain were damaged, but it makes it difficult to get any painting done.

Test hole to check the pipes
Some of the contents of the hobby closet and our walk in
Drying out the closets
Back of the hobby closet
Here's hoping we're back to normal soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Neighborhood Watch: A Superhero AAR

The Fantastic Four are on a well earned vacation in Pango Pango, and they have asked the X-Men and the Avengers to water the plants and generally keep an eye on the place while they are away.

The X-Men begin their patrol, looking for shady characters.  It's a good thing too, because...

The Hobgoblin, Black Cat, Abomination, Doctor Doom, Juggernaut, and Sabertooth have arrived to trash the Fantastic Four's building. Hobgoblin gets things started by hitting it with a pumpkin bomb, causing a fire. 

The X-men call for reinforcements, and the Avengers arrive.  While Iron Man tries to deal with the fire, Firestar and Spider-Woman  go after the Hobgoblin. Hulk and Ant Man prepare to slow down the other villains until the X-Men can get in position.

Unable to stop the fire, Iron Man blasts Abomination, while Cyclops gets a shot in at Juggernaut.  Firestar and Spider-Woman are unable to hit the Hobgoblin.

Ice Man arrives at the Fantastic Four building and and puts out the fire with his ice powers.  Hobgoblin is too busy with our heroes to throw any more pumpkin bombs at the headquarters.

The X-Men and Deadpool are now ready for battle.  Our heroes fail to further injure any of our villains this turn, but Doctor Doom manages to shock Deadpool with a lightning strike from his gauntlets, wounding him.

Firestar and Cyclops both blast away at Sabertooth,  knocking him out of commission.  The Hulk throws a truck at Abomination, but fails to injure him. 

The villains charge into hand to hand combat, taking on Hulk, Ant Man and Cyclops.

Cyclops retreats to a better shooting position while Beast and Deadpool jump into the mix.

Iceman and Angel help out in the attack on Hobgoblin.

It breaks down into a brutal slugfest, with Abomination taking further injury.

Black Cat manages to jinx Deadpool, resulting in further injury to him.  He decides to retreat and fight elsewhere.

Hobgoblin is knocked out of the sky, and our airborne heroes come down and join the fight on the ground.  However, Firestar is wounded by Doctor Doom.

Deadpool partially heals his injuries, then he takes down Abomination with Hulk and Iron Man.

Meanwhile, Spider-Woman and Firestar tangle with Black Cat, injuring her. 

Doctor Doom is trapped in a block of ice by Iceman, while Hulk and Cyclops help swarm Juggernaut. 

Juggernaut and Black Cat are knocked out cold, and the villains are now headed for jail.  Our superhero neighborhood watch have saved the Fantastic Four headquarters from destruction, with only the loss of a few ficus plants in the fire!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trees for the DOA Outpost

Well, I'm a bit stuck with the outpost buildings at the moment; one is pretty much done, but I'm just waiting for some final trim I ordered at the model railroad store; another is in process (also needs parts); and the last got lost in the mail, so I'm trying to get a replacement shipment. In the mean time, I thought I'd get started on some vegetation for the outpost.  

From many of the old photos I've seen, palm trees seem to be a common decoration on the main avenues and squares.  I wasn't able to find palms that looked exactly like the types pictured, but the Pegasus Hobbies Type B palms looked reasonable.   Ordering direct from Pegasus was pretty pricey with the shipping (and I live in the same country!), but I found a good deal at the Warstore.  And delivery was really fast!

The kit comes with three large trunks (all identical), bases, and palm fronds of various sizes/shapes that will need to be trimmed off the injection mold points.  The fronds are a softer plastic and can take some bending, but be careful not to over do it, as I managed to snap a few off during construction (I added some of these to the bases for some variety).

I painted the trees as follows:
Trunks: Earth base, German Camouflage Beige midtone, Bleached Sand highlights
Fronds: Olive base, Hauser Light Green midtone, Citron Green highlights, Golden Straw for dried out portions.

When sorting out the fronds, you have enough for two small, two large, and a cap for each tree.  I arranged mine small, the two large, another small, then the cap.   After assembling (which was very easy), I used spray matte sealer on the trees.  Sadly the trees ended up frosting up a bit, so some of the color was lost.   However, in a dusty town I guess that would be expected.

The completed trees look good and are tall enough to extend over my two story buildings, so I think they'll look impressive in the completed square.

 Now I felt the outpost also needed some crops growing near the native huts, and it seems maize and banana are common crops in that area.  Pegasus also makes banana trees, so I added a few of those to my Warstore purchase as well.

These are also soft plastic and you get two shades of green per box (2 medium green, one lighter green).  I have to say the box descriptions have some issues.  The box says 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches, so I was expecting them to look pretty good next to 28mm figures.  Now I don't know what the person who wrote that spends their time measuring, but let's just say they are very generous!  They tallest I was able to assemble was  1 3/4 inches.  If you were to try to really fluff the leaves you might get them up a little bit more, but the leave stalks are so thin they can snap easily.  On the plus side, the box says you are only getting 15 trees per box, but both of mine has 18 each.

Assembling these was a bit tricky. You add 2-3 leave bundles to each stem, and I ran into a few that didn't slide down all the way and either stuck midway (I was using glue as I added then) or snapped off the top of the stem as I tried to move them down. My advice is to assemble the leaves as you want them (without glue or paint), then drip superglue down along the stalk tip into the leaves.  The bases were also a pain.  Besides being too small and letting the trees tip over, the designer though it would be a good idea to use half circle pegs rather than just circles. Now these pegs are maybe 1.5mm wide, so trying to get everything lines up when you have a dab of glue on the tip was just an exercise in frustration. Lastly, there are no dedicated slots for the banana bunches or flowers (you also won't have one for every tree), so you just have to add the stems where you can between the leaves.

Since the trees were so unstable, I decided to glue then down to strips of fiberboard and add some base texture before painting.

The banana trees I've seen had fairly bright green leaves, so I kept the base plastic green and drybrushed with the Hauser Light Green and Citron Green used on the palm trees.  The trunks went from Golden Straw to Orange Brown to German Camouflage Black at the base.  The banana flowers  were base coated with the same Camouflage black and highlighted Violet Red.  For the banana bunches, I used Citron Green, washed with Camouflage Black, then highlighted with Golden Yellow and Light Yellow.

In the end they weren't as grand as I hoped for (I think they'd look better with 20mm figures), but will work as as young trees.

Monday, July 14, 2014

East African Trading Post

I am building a little colonial outpost for Deutsch-Ostafrika and the first building off the bench is is the "Schütz und Egbers" trading post.  It's been named for myself and my host family from when I was an exchange student in Germany. Not being a native German speaker I've had to rely on my dictionary to translate my wares; it's supposed to be provisions, supplies and weapons, so here's hoping it's correct.

The shop is Ainsty's 3003 Corrugated Iron Shack with a scratch built sign added. For the sign I used a font called Gorgio (EDIT: it should be Bangle), which is similar to the font in this period photo:

The building was well cast and comes with a detailed interior and front doors that can either be positioned closed, or split in two and left open. I've opted for open.

As an empty shop would be boring, I bought some trade goods from Ainsty as well: 3303, 3309, and 3311. Again, these were very well cast.  Several of the smaller items have been glued together for ease of transporting.  I did not attach them to the base so that they could be moved around and used as objectives or barricades in my games.

Overall I am very happy with this start.  In addition to my completed native huts, I have three additional colonial buildings in the works.  They will be shown here as I complete them.

South African Infantry

Ok, I'm back with another unit for my Deutsch-Ostafrika project.  These are South African troops supporting the British Empire:

The figures are the lovely British Infantry from Brigade Games. These have been painted according to Plate E in Peter Abbott's "Armies in East Africa 1914-1918", though I did not try to add the springbok general service badge to the helmet. I did however include the white and maroon diamond helmet flash for the 7th Battalion.

The officers I used are in trousers rather than short pants, so I have painted their trousers to match the corduroy pair seen on the Bombardier in the same plate.  I don't know if these trousers were issued to the infantry in addition to the field artillery, but I like how they give the South Africans a bit of a different look than my KAR unit. Besides, with supply shortages in the field, I could see them using whatever was available.

I've found a third Africa Gamer in the area, so we're trying to get a game organized for next month.  Hopefully these will get to spend some time on the table!