Tuesday, September 3, 2019

War of 1812: Maryland militia riflemen

I have in mind to build up some Sharp Practice forces for the Chesapeake raids and skirmishes in 1814/1813 to add to my War of 1812 collection. To this end, I have ordered and received some Old Glory British Marines and Maryland militia (with their distinctive shako turbans). But first up on the agenda are some Maryland militia rifles for which I've used some left-over US regular rifle figures. They are quite similar to the US rifle regiments  (well, close enough for me) except with red fringes on their green hunting shirts and white plumes (or feathers, depending on the source). 

The officer figure's uniform is pure speculation on my part. In all of my extensive sources (and on the interwebs), I could find no specifics for militia rifle officers. I've also added a musician who could double as an extra Big Man, if required.

Monday, July 29, 2019

gratuitous pics - civilians and French cavalry

Played a couple of War of 1812 games this past weekend and didn't bother to take photos of the action. What I did manage was a few shots of the new civilians from Front Rank.

I also took some time for a couple of gratuitous shots of the French cavalry in my Sharp Practice 2 force, sitting in their newly completed movement trays.

The emperor and his entourage watch as line chasseurs and guard cavalry trundle past.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

4Ground: from good to better

So, I was thinking of putting together a new building for Captain Dan's American War of Inconsideration project as perhaps a birthday present. In a recent hobby store trip (Meeplemart, in Toronto), I picked up a 4Ground kit that looked suitably AWI/ACW-ish. When I had it home for closer perusal, I decided it wouldn't really fit with the remainder of his collection. So what to do with it? Ah yes, the never-ending WWII town building project. This building, strictly speaking, is a late 19th century north American "shotgun house." But I thought I could use it, with appropriate tweaking, as part of our European industrial area. I'm not so picky as to worry about it being from the wrong century or continent. Details are for suckers! (note: I'm fully aware that that statement, as facetious as it is, flies quite forcibly in the face of my next comments on the details of mdf building kits)

In my experience, 4Ground kits are good starting points for a model but require some work to satisfy my (admittedly) subjective aesthetic requirements. The kits are normally well-coloured and designed but tend to be a bit too "perfect." What I mean is that the edges and corners are perfectly square. This is not unique to 4Ground kits but in fact is common to all mdf models but is explainable by the design and laser-cutting process. The other issue, of course, is the roof and the ever-present lug-holes. Explainable in a design context but unacceptable for me.

A photo of the stock 4Ground kit from their site...

This is a perfectly acceptable model but the "perfect" edges and corners are clearly visible, particularly at the building corners, the veranda supports and the wooden steps. Not even a brand new house is so cleanly cut.

And the finished model after some appropriate tweaking; most obvious is the newly-shingled roof (using Warbases laser-cut sheets). What is not so obvious is the that most (if not all) sharp edges have been sanded down to remove the perfect angles. This is a simple (but sometimes fiddly) process but usually best performed before assembling all the pieces. The result, I think, is a more subtle and organic form.

Another way of breaking up the regularity of a structure is to add bushes and flowers. These serve to pretty up the building but also create breaks in the straight lines.

And, of course, adding posters or signs add another level of detail and irregularity.

War of 1812: civilians

After a recent War of 1812 game (using Sharp Practice 2, of course), I realized we had too few (i.e. none) civilians to populate our Niagara farmsteads. I had, some time ago, added some Front Rank civilians to the collection but these are decidedly towns-folk. They are dressed far too nattily to be working the farm. 

Thus, back to the Front Rank shopping cart and voila! Farmer folk...

Saturday, March 23, 2019


Part of my ongoing terrain-making blitz includes some refurbishments of older pieces we've been using for some years (some as long as 20 years) and the use of new materials to try and upgrade the aesthetic experience. A couple of years ago on a trip to London, I was able to find some rubberized horsehair. These packages have been languishing in the Terrain Boxes o' Shame since. In the active terrain collection, we've had a number of Games Workshop hedges that have seen better days and some furnace filter hedges that were never adequately flocked. I spent a few days experimenting with the latter and refurbishing the former.

Refurbed furnace filter hedges and GW hedges on curved bases to match our road system.

Rubberized horsehair hedges with some scratchbuilt gates.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

We will build a city!

Since mid-December, I've been on a bit of a building blitz (as you can see from previous posts). The plan was twofold: 1) to broaden our urban gaming possibilities and; 2) to clear out all the unfinished buildings and assorted terrain bits in my Boxes o' Shame. Recently, Michael and I took some time in the Trenton Gaming Emporium to put it all out on the table and see the result. About one half of this monstrosity was created in the last two and a half months (the other half accumulated over the last several years).