Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Close Air Support for Look, Sarge, No Charts: Science Fiction

    Posted By on March 6, 2017

    Around Christmas I found  a set of the Firefly miniatures on sale at our local hobby store.  I bought a box to make close air support units for the Science Fiction variant of Look, Sarge, No Charts that we are beginning to develop.  I like the shape of the firefly ship.  While very under-scale as a freighter, I think they look good as fighter bombers or gunships in a tactical game.

    Blown Up Ships for X-Wing

    Posted By on March 6, 2017

    I enjoy the X-Wing game from Fantasy Flight Games.  The add-ons are all about $15 or more.  I thought it would be interesting to have some blown-up ships to put on the table, but at $15, the ships for the game are just too expensive to cut apart.  The Matchbox micro machines ones are about the right size (a little small) and significantly cheaper.  I’ve had a couple of Tie fighters, X-wing fighters, and a Y-wing fighter on the project table for close to a year.  This weekend, I finally got around to making my blown-up ship markers.

    White cotton batting to stuff a teddy bear

    White cotton batting to stuff a teddy bear

    I started with white cotton batting like you would use to stuff a toy.  I then spray painted it with black spray paint.  This usually works better if you tear it into about the size hunks you are going to use before spraying it.  Otherwise, when you pull the batting apart, there will still be white areas.

    Cotton batting after spray painting with black paint

    Cotton batting after spray painting with black paint

    In this picture the batting looks lighter than in person.  I often highlight the black batting with a light spray paint of gray paint from about two feet away to provide some highlights.

    I think used a hot glue gun to attack wads of the painted batting to flight stands.

    I cut the micro machines ships in half and then hot glued them to opposite ends of the batting to give the appearance that the ship exploded out from the center.

    I think the effect is good.  I plan to place them on the table for one turn when a ship is destroyed in the game.  As a house rule, when a ship flies through this marker, they will take an attack with one or two red dice.

    Duck!

    Posted By on March 6, 2017

    Ducks!

    Ducks!

    I recently found these ducks on Ebay.  They are old figures from the 1970′s I think.  The sculpting is of that vintage.  I couldn’t resist painting them in Donald Duck colors.  I am collecting a fair number of duck figures.

    Play Testing Some New Rules at HAWKs Night

    Posted By on March 1, 2017

    At last Friday’s HAWKs night we play tested a set of rules under development by Lee Sowers and Allen Kaplan in New Jersey.  The rules are for division-level WWII games.  They have some interesting concepts.

    Mike schools us all on the rules.

    Mike schools us all on the rules.

    Chris ruminates...

    Chris ruminates...

    Mike and Chris duke it out for control of the hill.

    Mike and Chris duke it out for control of the hill.

    Don plots is nefarious stratagem.

    Don plots is nefarious stratagem.

    Don slaps around one of Chris' elements while Mike's forces are on the ropes.

    Don slaps around one of Chris' elements while Mike's forces are on the ropes.

    While Duncan was play testing his Cold Wars game, and we were play testing the division-level WWII rules, Eric was play testing his new fantasy skirmish game.

    Dave, Eric, and Colonel Sanders play Eric's fantasy skirmish game.

    Dave, Eric, and Colonel Sanders play Eric's fantasy skirmish game.

    Combat Patrol (TM): Napoleonic Wars

    Posted By on March 1, 2017

    Last Friday at HAWKs night Duncan Adams play tested his Combat Patrol(TM): Napoleonic Wars game for Cold Wars in a couple of weeks.  It was a hard slog for the British.

    This is the first in a set of linked scenarios.  Duncan will run this game using his Napoleonic supplement to Combat Patrol(TM).  If the British capture the church, they will be in possession at the beginning of the next, larger-scale scenario, run by Dave using Wellington Rules.  The outcome of that scenario will impact the starting setup of their combined Fate of Battle: Look, Sarge, No Charts: Napoleonic Wars game.

    British Rifles try to suppress the French defenders.  The white pipe cleaners mark that the men have fired.

    British Rifles try to suppress the French defenders. The white pipe cleaners mark that the men have fired.

    I think the scenario went well, but it will be a difficult task for the British to seize the church.  Stop by Duncan’s table at Cold Wars and participate in this interesting fight.

    Posted By on February 27, 2017

    I have been working some insane hours at work the past month, but this weekend, I finally had a chance to finish some figures I began a while ago.  The first batch are some Japanese infantry that I will be using with the South Pacific supplement of Combat Patrol(TM): World War II.   I don’t know the manufacturer of the figures, since I picked them up in a bag from a flea market.

    To paint these, I first primed them in Krylon camouflage brown.  Then I gave them a very heavy dry brush of Vallejo 880 Khaki Gray and a lighter dry brush of 882 Middlestone.  I think they ended with the right yellowish green color.

    This gives me a full Japanese infantry platoon.

    I also finished up another 10 Russians for my Winter War (1939) project.  Zeb Cook and I are running a double blind Finland game at Cold Wars in a couple of weeks, and I thought I was short a couple of riflemen.  Again, these were in a flea market bag, so I’m not sure the manufacturers.

    After texturing the bases with ceramic stucco, I painted them with dark chocolate and dry brushed them with territorial beige.  I then applied some of the Citadel Valhalla Blizzard to the bases for that snow effect.

    The Ma’k I Space Panzer

    Posted By on January 26, 2017

    Ma’k Morin tried his hand at an original creation — a futuristic tank as envisioned in Popular Science in the 1930s.  See his blog (link at the top of the page) for details.  I was lucky enough to get one of the first out of the molds.  I tend to paint a lot of my retro science fiction vehicles in metal colors like the older serials rather than primary colors like the comic strips.

    The Ma'k I Space Panzer on the painting table

    The Ma'k I Space Panzer on the painting table

    According to Ma’k, the guns in the sponsons have a reasonably long range, but the beam in the Martian eye from the 1953 movie version of The War of the Worlds has fires like a flame thrower.

    Space Bugs

    Posted By on January 26, 2017

    My buddy Ma’k molded these space bugs from the old Archive Miniatures Star Rovers line.  Apparently they are called Phraints.  I just call them “space bugs.”  For these I wanted to try something a little different.

    I found this spray paint at my local Michael’s store.  It is “citrus dream” glitter blast hobby paint from Krylon.  I wanted the bugs to have a shiny appearance, and I was thinking about many layers of increasingly light greens.  Instead, I brush painted the bugs forest green and then sprayed them with this glittery paint.

    After spraying them, they definitely had a different look than I would have achieved by layers of dry brushing.  I should have thought about it a little.  For the glitter to be part of the paint, it sprayed on pretty thickly and gunked up some of the details.  More importantly, it left the areas that weren’t skin (exoskeleton, whatever) with a rough texture that was difficult to cover.  The glitter paint stuck to the figure just fine, but I sprayed them with dull coat to make sure glitter didn’t scatter everywhere.

    Phraints as works in progress on the painting table

    Phraints as works in progress on the painting table

    I painted the “sergeant” and “corporal” with different colors on their antennae than the troops.

    I’m not sure I’ll mess with this glitter paint again, but I am happy with the effect on these bugs.

    I think they look suitably menacing.

    Space Centaurs and Mk. III Robots

    Posted By on January 22, 2017

    Mk. III Robots, Space Roomans, Space Centaurs, Phrinx, Space Ducks, and Dragon Spawn in front of the Phantom shuttle

    Mk. III Robots, Space Roomans, Space Centaurs, Phrinx, Space Ducks, and Dragon Spawn in front of the Phantom shuttle

     I was supposed to go play a war-game with some board gamers from where I used to work on Saturday evening, but Saturday morning I picked up some sort of cold / flu / upper respiratory bug that knocked me out.  All day Saturday and Sunday I would do something for an hour and then take a nap.  I don’t get ill very frequently, but when I do, it really saps my energy.  So, between naps, I worked on two more sets of figures from my buddy Mark Morin (see the link to his blog at the top of this page).

    Space Centaurs on my painting table

    Space Centaurs on my painting table

    Mk. III robots on my painting table

    Mk. III robots on my painting table

    This set included space centaurs and Mk. III robots, both from Star Rovers, I believe.  I started by priming them in dark gray and then dry brushing them white.  For the Mk. III robots, I decided to do something a little different.  I typically paint my robots in 1930′s metallic, but I decided to go with a more Star Wars look of painted robots.

    Mk. III robots backing up some Space Roomans

    Mk. III robots backing up some Space Roomans

    I decided to paint the horse portion of the space centaurs in a variety of colors.  I set out to make them look like Indian paint ponies, but there wasn’t enough horse showing to provide enough opportunity for variation, and the all started to look too similar.  so some of the centaurs became black, brown, and white.   I decided on an orange space suit for the human part of the space centaur.

    Two squads of space centaurs

    Two squads of space centaurs

    In Combat Patrol(TM), I plan to allow the space centaurs two movement cards, rather than one, just like cavalry in the Napoleonic supplement.

    Closeup of a space centaurs

    Closeup of a space centaurs

    As I mentioned earlier, I went with a  basically white paint scheme with just a few details.

    Mk. III robots are organized into two teams (led by corporals) and a squad leader (a sergeant).

    I have quite a large collection of out-of-produciton figures molded by Ma’k.  I just have one set left to paint — some anthropomorphic space bugs.

    The bottom half of a Really Useful Box full of figures cast by Ma'k

    The bottom half of a Really Useful Box full of figures cast by Ma'k: space Roomans, space centaurs, and Mk. III robots

    The top half of a Really Useful Box full of figures cast by Ma'k

    The top half of a Really Useful Box full of figures cast by Ma'k: Dragon spawn, space ducks, and Phrinx

     

    Painted Some Dragonspawn Troopers

    Posted By on January 16, 2017

    Back in October, Ma’k Morin posted an item on his blog about making a mold of some old Star Rovers Dragonspawn figures.  He sent me a bunch of these figures to paint.  I finally got around to them this weekend.

    Star Rovers Phrinx

    Star Rovers Phrinx

    Recall that some weeks ago I painted some other figures that Ma’k molded, the Phrinx.  They sort of looked like ducks in Stormtrooper suits, so I painted them to look like Stormtroopers.

    I thought that the Deathspawn looked like rebels to me from the attack on Princess Leia’s ship at the beginning of Episode IV, so that’s how I painted them.

    Ma’k sent 12 of each of the two poses.  This allowed me to make two units of ten with four figures left over.  I made two of the leftover figures.  I decided to modify two of the extras to create heavy weapons for the Dragonspawn platoon.

    This one is meant to be evocative of a Lewis gun.

    This one is meant to be some sort of anti-vehicular weapon.  Can you see what I used to make this weapon?

    It is the center section of this Dalek.  For some reason I had an extra one.

    I also knocked out these three weeping angels for Dr. Who.  Finally I added the snow to my Winter War Russians.  This was done in the same manner as my previous post about putting snow on the bases of my Winter War Finns.