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!
  • First Unit of Blue Moon Munchkins: Colonel Hardsole’s Regiment

    Posted By on December 1, 2019

    I have been collaborating with Old Glory to produce a set of rules, The Wars of Ozz, to go along with the beautiful new line of figures that will be hitting the market in the Spring. Most of the testing has been with ersatz figures, but recently I received some pre-production figures of four Munchkin regiments. This one if Colonel Hardsole’s Regiment. I am afraid my painting doesn’t really do justice to these beautiful figures.

    The front of Colonel Hardsole’s Regiment in green coats with yellow facings.
    A closer look at the regiment.

    All infantry regiments in Wars of Ozz are mounted in five bases with four figures each. Shooting and melee are conducted by base, but damage is assessed by individual figures. There is also a mounted commander for many regiments, not pictured here.

    Three more regiments, partially completed, on the painting table.

    These figures are fun to paint. The rules are coming along nicely and will be released (hopefully) at Cold Wars or soon afterward. In any event, I and those to whom I have subjected months of play testing, will be running Wars of Ozz games at Cold Wars.

    Breisach, German

    Posted By on November 25, 2019

    Our first full day on the Sigyn was a Breisach, German, the “gateway to the Black Foreset.” Breisach is built on a basalt rock outcropping in the Rhine plain. It is located in one of the warmest parts of German, across the river from French Alsace, which is famous for its wine growing. Breisach, too, can boast about its winter; it is home of Europes largest cellars, which a storage capacity of more than 160 million liters. The most prominent landmark of Breisach is the Romanesque-Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral , built between the 13th and 13th centuries.

    We took the included excursion into the Black Forest, which is actually a mountain range. Due to weather, we were not allowed to hike the Black Forest trails, so we instead viewed a glass blowing a cuckoo clock demonstration in a tourist area in the Black Forest.

    A view of the Black Forest from our bus window.
    Sheep seen from our bus.
    The Black Forest Village tourist trap where we saw the glass blowing and cuckoo clock demos.
    The “newlyweds.”
    The not-so-newly weds.
    The people danced around the clock on the half hours.

    In the afternoon, Candy and Nicole went on the tour of Medieval Colmar tour, but Greg and I took the WWII Colmar excursion.

    The site of Audie Murphys one-man stand against the Germans.
    Our guide, Malcolm.
    A plaque at the Audie Murphy site.
    One of the many dioramas at the WWII, Colmar museum. This was an interesting chapter of WWII history that I didn’t know much about until this trip.
    Another diorama.
    Greg and me in one of the Alsacians towns we passed through during our travels.
    A French Sherman that was knocked out by the Germans and was on display in a French town.
    A church in Medieval Colman where Candy and Nicole toured.
    A woman Medieval Colmar passing out coconut macaroons.
    The town was beginning to decorate for Christmas.
    Another view of Christmas decorations.
    The tour guide herds cats.
    One of the early versions of the Statue of Liberty. This was the town in which the sculptor lived.
    Nicole and Candy in the lounge back on board.
    Candy disproving new alcoholic treats under the expert tutelage of Nicole.
    The evening’s entertainment consisted of a glass blowing demonstration in the lounge.

    It was a good, but long, first full day aboard ship.

    Traveling the Rhine (continued)

    Posted By on November 25, 2019

    Our last day in Lucern we checked out of our hotel and then walked round the old town (altstaedt) to do some shopping. By 1500 we boarded busses for the 90-minute drive to Basel, where we boarded out boat, the Viking Sigyn, unpacked, received the introductory briefing by Andrew our program director, and had dinner.

    A view of downtown Lucern.
    A view of the shopping area in the old town.
    The lion statue carved into rock to honor the Swiss soldiers who served the French during the Thirty Years War.
    At one point we stopped to get a small bag of roasted chestnuts. The weather was cold, and the nuts were welcome.
    One of the many churches in downtown Lucern.
    Candy and Nicole with their loot.
    We had a nice lunch in a restaurant that specialized in local Swiss beers.
    A humorous store window.
    Boarding our home for the next week.
    Our state room.

    Switzerland and the Rhine

    Posted By on November 20, 2019

    I have never had any interest in taking a cruise. First, the Caribbean holds little interest for me. Second, the notion of sitting on a private beach in an all-inclusive resort while abject poverty stares at me through a chain link fence just doesn’t interest me. Some friends of ours took a Viking river cruise of the Danube a couple of years ago and came back with glowing reports. We decided to give a Viking river cruise a try by traveling from Basel to Amsterdam along the Rhine with stops every day for excursions and sight seeing.

    The trip began with two days in Lucern after a flight into Zurich. The first day was raining and cold, but we had nice weather for the second day. While we waited for Greg and Nicolle to arrive, we got a quick bite to eat at the nearby train station, I worked out for an hour in the fitness center, and I talked Candy into experiencing the sauna. It was a bit of culture shock for Candy to be in a sauna with naked people.

    Candy, Nicole, and Greg in the lobby of our hotel as we set out for dinner the first evening.

    When Greg and Nicole arrived, we set out to find some traditional Swiss fondu at a restaurant, called Pfistern. Instead of fondu we had raclette. It was really good, but somewhat heavy with all that cheese. Lucern, like many European cities has a downtown area (the altstaedt) that is pedestrian only. We felt at ease walking around town, window shopping, and chatting.

    The restaurant Pfistern where we had raclette.
    The front of our hotel. I highly recommend Raddison Blu. I have stayed at several in different countries, and they are excellent. Plus they always have a very nice fitness center.

    The next day we took a guided walking tour of Lucern led by an expatriate American from Ft. Lauderdale. The tour was interesting, and it gave us ideas where we wanted to go the next day to do some shopping.

    The first of several views of Lucern.
    The pink clock tower is on top of the rathaus (city hall).
    Greg and Nicole in front of the Chapel Bridge. This wooden bridge is decorated with paintings dating back to the 14th century. Many were destroyed when the center of the bridge caught fire in the 90’s.
    Candy with her trophy husband. We were all wearing “quiet boxes.” These allow the tour guide to talk to all of us without yelling or bothering others.
    Another view of the area surrounding Lucern.
    Another view of Lucern.
    A final view of Lucern.

    After the morning walking tour, we grabbed sandwiches from the Coop grocery store in the train station and hopped on the train to Interlocken, north of Lucern. Interlocken is a ski resort town. The Viking people recommended the trip as a way to see Swiss countryside. The views were very nice, but the glare off the train windows made photography a challenge.

    A church in Interlocken.
    A view out the train window. This was interesting as it showed the gradual snow covering.
    A town out the window of the train.
    Another view out the train window.
    A building in Interlocken.

    That night we walked to another restaurant that the Viking people recommended, called the Rebstock. It was more meat and potatoes than cheese, but still traditional Swiss food. It was quite good, and we enjoyed the walk to the restaurant and back.

    Our final morning in Lucern we checked out of our hotel, handed over our luggage, and then walked round town, even experiencing (briefly) a farmer’s market in town. We did a little shopping, and we enjoyed lunch in a small restaurant along the water specializing in burgers and craft beers; although, none of us had burgers. What’s the point of visiting a foreign country and eating food you can get easily at home.

    We met up with the Viking folks at 1500 and took a bus to Basel, where we boarded out boat for the rest of the trip. Once we were underway, we had an excellent dinner and sat around the lounge listening to an Eastern European piano player, Gigi, play old American tunes on the piano while we enjoyed some cocktails.

    We all slept very well as our boat traveled northward on the Rhine, going through four sets of locks before docking at Breisach am Rhein for the remainder of the evening. There is almost no sensation of being on the boat as it travels. We slept very well as the effects of jet lag, early mornings, long days, and booze lulled us to sleep.

    Stuff I Did This Weekend

    Posted By on October 20, 2019

    This was an unusually hobby-filled weekend. Friday night was HAWKs club night. I hosted another play test of the Wars of Ozz rules for Old Glory on Saturday. On Sunday, I painted some figures that have been staring at me on the painting table for a while.

    This is a shot of the game Friday night. Wars of Ozz will be a “big battle” game, with regiments of 20 figures plus a mounted leader. For these play tests we have been using ersatz figures, because the figures are not in production yet.

    I have been working on a set of rules, called Wars of Ozz, for Old Glory to go along with a new line of figures. Both rules and figures should be in full production and for sale by March 2020. Friday night was the first test outside the small group that has been involved while the project was secret. Now that Russ has posted some news about the project on TMP, I can talk about it a little.

    Another view of the table.

    Saturday we held another play test of the rules with a smaller group. I am working on just a few things to get the Reaction Test chart correct. Then I have to work a little on the named generals and wizards. I am hoping to have it done by Christmas.

    After we finished the Wars of Ozz game, we broke out gladiators for an hour or hacking and slashing.
    The crowd cheers!
    Greg’s gladiatrix bites the dust.
    The second game pitted Greg and Chris against a rhino, hippo, and lion. The animals won.

    On Sunday I had a chance to paint these Imperial Assault figures that have been sitting on my painting table, mocking me, for months.

    The crew from the Phantom in Star Wars Rebels along with Asoka Tank.

    More Johnny Quest

    Posted By on October 1, 2019

    Greg Priebe printed this spider from the episode Robot Spy.

    Greg found the STL files for the Johnny Quest spider on Thingaverse (I think), and he printed one for me.  I think we’ll try to double the size of the next print, but I think it looks really cool.

    Combat Patrol(TM) at Southern Front

    Posted By on September 25, 2019

    Les ran a Combat Patrol(TM) game last weekend at the Southern Front convention.  The tables looks great.  Les said it was the first time he’d run the game at a convention, and that it went very well.  Many of the folks in the pictures have played in my Combat Patrol(TM) games in the past, so apparently they weren’t too traumatized.  🙂

    Les gave me permission to post these pictures.

    Johnny Quest

    Posted By on September 23, 2019

    I finished these this evening.

    Barrage is Just Five Days Away

    Posted By on September 23, 2019

    A productive weekend!

    Posted By on September 22, 2019

    My forces try to hold off Chris while Greg takes his sweet time turning Chris’ flank.

    My daughter and CINC Domicile (my wife) our away this weekend on a girl road trip, so I have had the house to myself.  I started with the HAWKs club night on Friday where Chris and I ran a Feudal Patrol(TM) game while Eric ran a play test of his Fall In Napoleonic game. The Feudal Patrol game went pretty well, but I’ll be making another couple of changes to the Action Deck cards and the unit record sheets as a result.

    Then Saturday morning a couple of us continues with another play test of the rules I am developing for a miniatures company but cannot discuss.  We are using ersatz figures for these play tests to disguise the project for the time being.

    Using ersatz figures has given me a chance to put some troops on the table that haven’t seen battle in a few years, including my Rooman warriors.  (There is some rumor that there may be more Roomans in production soon.)

    The play test went well.  I think the basic mechanics are flowing well.  Now I have to bolt on some chrome to give it more period flavor.

    Winston Churchill and his body guard.

    I also had a chance on Sunday to do a little painting.  I purchased this iconic figure of Winston Churchill with tommy gun some months ago, and I finally got around to painting it after looking on the Internet to learn that the suit was pinstriped.

    At the same time I ordered Churchill, I also ordered Hitler and his bodyguard.  Look for a Combat Patrol(TM) game that is The Eagle Has Landed and The Eagle Has Landed in the Other Direction soon.

    Bad Squiddo slingers.

    I also painted some peasant ladies with slings and stones that I will work into my Viking games — when I start to run Viking games.  Greg has volunteered to write the Viking supplement for Feudal Patrol(TM), so watch for those announcements.  (By they way, my intent is turn Feudal Patrol(TM) over to the publisher in December, with an eye toward Cold Wars and Salute release.)

    Bad Squiddo peasant ladies with improvised weapons and a vignette they call “My Heroine.”

    Ever since I saw these figures in an announcement on TMP, I knew they were calling to me.  While my paint job is not as good as the ones on the package I think they turned out respectably.  Watch for these in a Feudal Patrol game soon.  I have been running Sea Lion games with the Bad Squiddo British ladies with similarly improvised weapons and the Land Girls.  My plan is to represent the same town as a dark ages costal village and run similar scenarios with Viking Raids instead of German Fifth Columnists.    Hopefully I’ll be ready by Cold Wars, but I am short Vikings and longboats.

    What’s on the painting table now?  Some Border Reivers that Zeb picked up for me at Salute this year and a US WWII .50 cal. machine-gun crew.  Then I think some Hydra Valkyrie riding some odd creatures.  I have painted everything I purchased at Historicon plus a bunch, so I am still trending in the right direction with my lead pile.