Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Tale of a Frugal Gamer - Episode 2

One of the issues that seems to be common among those of us that play with space ships, planes, and aeronefs is how do you keep the stands from breaking off when transporting.  Most of the stands are glued onto the model.  Sometimes you can use pegs that fit into a whole, but that has some limitations as well.

I wanted to have stands that could be attached to the model, but could then be removed for transport and storage of the models.

CorSec Engineering has a line of products called Omni-Stands.  These are a collection of bases, mounts, and rods that thread into one another and are easily removed.  A few months ago, I ordered 30 bases, 30 pegs, and 30 mounts to use with my new Brigade Games models for Imperial Skies.  I spent about $80 for these.  These are a very nice product, but they are very expensive.

CorSec Engineering base, peg, and mount.

Many of the ship models I have cost $.75-1.50.  I don't want to add a base that is 3 times the cost of the model.

CorSec suggests you buy a mount for each model, but you only need enough bases and pegs for the largest fleet you plan to play.  Since these come apart, you don't need a base and peg for each ship you own, only for the ones in your fleet. 

Not a bad idea and their product is pretty nice, but this is a story of a frugal gamer.  So I started thinking about how I could do something similar on the cheap.

So I stopped by my local home improvement shop and found a 6-32 threaded rod and some nylon lock nuts as well.  I went with the lock nuts so that I wouldn't tighten the rod into the base and break the base/model away from the nut.  The nylon will stop me from threading the rod too far onto the nut.

I have a pair of wire trimmers that allows me to cut the threaded rod so I didn't need to purchase that.

Wire trimmers to cut the threaded rod.

I cut a length of threaded rod about 1" long (you can cut the rod to whatever length you like).  I also bought some 1.25" fender washers.  For a little more money you an use Litko hex bases of whatever size you like.  Whatever you decide to use, glue a lock nut to the base and another lock nut to the ship model.  (Try to get the nut glued to the center of gravity to help keep the model stable.)  I thread the rod into the two nuts and I now have a stand that comes apart for transport/storage.  And is very cheap.

Fender washers, nylon lock nuts, threaded rod, and aluminum tube.

My cheap flight stand with a CorSec mount.

A nylon nut glued to the ship.

My cheap stand works well for ships of different sizes.
You can paint and/or texture the bases if you like.

If you don't like the look of the threaded rod, you can "hide" it fairly easily.  Also from my local home improvement shop I picked up a 3/16" aluminum tube.  Cut it to length with a hacksaw and you have a sleeve to go over the threaded rod.

You can use some aluminum tube if you want to hide the threaded rod.

Just cut the tube to length and slide it over the threaded rod.
My cheap removable flight stand
Fender Washer 1.25" (pack of 30) - $3.69 or $.13 each
Threaded rod (36" rod cut into 1" lengths) - $3.99 or $.12 each
Aluminum tube (36" tube cut into 1" lengths) - $2.89 or $.09 each
2 nylon lock nuts (purchased in 100 packs) - $3.49 or $.08 per pair

Total Cost - $.42 each

CorSec Engineering's Omni-Stand
Omni-Stand 1.25" Hex Base - $.75 each
Omni-Stand Small Mount - $.45 each
Omni-Stand 1" Rod - $1.29 each

Total cost - $2.49 each

Just to be clear, CorSec Engineering's stands are great and I will continue to use the ones I have purchased.  They have some cool features that make them worth the money.  And they have some interesting additional items that can give you some additional options to your modeling.  However. for most of my ships, I just don't want to spent that kind of money on the stands.  

In addition, I used 6-32 threaded rod so the nuts and pegs are all interchangeable between my cheap stands and the CorSec stands.

If you only need a couple of stands, then maybe you should go with CorSec's stands, but if you are like me and have a couple hundred models, then this might be a worthwhile alternative.

What do you use for your flight stands?  Have you come up with any clever solutions?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Memoir '44 - Flanking Caen Battle Report - Securing the Flank - 6 x 6Challenge

As part of my 6 x 6 Challenge, I will be playing Memoir '44.  To start this off, my wife (Amy) and I will be playing through the Flanking Caen mini-campaign found in the Memoir '44 Campaign Book Volume 1.

For those that aren't familiar with Memoir '44, it is a board game set in World War II.  It is based on the Command & Colors mechanic and is quite fun, in my opinion.  It is a fairly light game and plays quickly and is pretty easy to teach to new players.  The base game comes with a nice variety of scenarios and there are many expansions that cover different theaters of WWII.

There were 2 campaign books published for this game.  These books give you a frame work to play through multiple battles with the outcomes being linked and (possibly) having an effect on future battles.  I only have the first volume of the campaign books and this will be my first time using it.

Securing the Flank Historical Background:

As part of the preparation for the Montgomery's Operation Epsom, the 49th Infantry Division, was assigned the task of taking the towns of Fontenay le Pesnel and Raury (and the area around it).  If successful, the allied control of these locations would protec the 15th Division's flank as they pushed against the primary objective taking Caen.

The 49th Infantry faced the 12th SS Panzer Division and the left flank of Panzer Lehr.  The German defenders held tough and the inexperienced 49th Division was unable to take its objectives that day.

Allied command moved forward with Operation Epsom on June 26 even though their flank was exposed.  The German armor and artillery in Raury led to heavier resistance than Montgomery had hoped to face.
In our campaign, Amy will be in command of the Americans and I will be controlling the Germans.

You can watch the battle in all its glory.

It was a fun game and I look forward to our next game.  The allies managed to take Fontenay le Pesnel, but failed to capture Raury and earned 5 medals versus the axis who only earned 2.

The campaign points after the first battle (including objectives):

Allies - 7
Axis - 1

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Imperial Skies - French Fleet - Part 1

I've been working on painting some French ships to face off against my Turkish fleet using the Imperial Skies rules.

I put together a video showing how I painted the models.  I used CorSec Engineering stands on the ships.

I'm pleased with the results and look forward to adding more ships to the fleet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

6mm Tank Painting Basics

I have been working on my Cold War era project lately.  I was asked to put together a guide that described some of the basic techniques used to paint these models.

So I've put together a video that covers a few of the most important and common techniques.

I am not a professional painter and there are a lot of much more talented people out there.  However, I thought some folks might benefit from this.

I hope you all find this useful and if you have anything you would like to see, please let me know.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cold War Commander Battle Report 1 - 6 x 6 Challenge

I played my first game of Cold War Commander.

In this game, it is 1985 and I have a small force of US tanks facing off against a small force of Russian tanks.  I played the encounter scenario from the book.

I recorded the battle and you can watch it here.

I missed a few rules; suppression and opportunity fire for sure, and maybe a few more.  It was a learning game, so it is okay to miss a few rules.  I'll try to do better in future games.

I enjoyed the game and look forward to future games.  I like how the activation mechanic works in this game.  It fives a good "Fog of War" because you don't know if you will be able to activate or not.

I have pretty limited forces for the moment, but I'm working on painting more models for the Cold War era and will be playing larger games as I get more models painted.

Have you played this game?  What do you think of it?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cold War Era in 6mm - Painting US M1A2 tanks

I recently painted up some Russian T-55 tanks for some Cold War era gaming and now I need to work on some US tanks for them to face off against.

I picked up a GHQ Combat Commander box to give me a good start on my force and have started to paint some of the M1A2 Abrams tanks.

These models are very detailed and look very nice.  I wrote a post about unboxing these models that you can find here.

I started by cleaning up the flash.  There was not much cleaning to be done.  These models are pretty nicely cast.

Next up was to prime the models white.  I used my inexpensive sand-able auto-body primer from my local parts store.

Once the primer was dry, I put down a couple of layers of US Dark Green.  This gives me a solid base coat.

Next, was a wash to add some depth and shading to the models.  I used Agrax Earthshade.  This is a brown wash and I decided to use this instead of the Nuln Oil I used on the Russians so that the models (hopefully) have a different look on the table.

After the wash dried, I mixed a bit of white into the US Dark Green to lighten it up a bit and dry-brushed the models.  I tried to avoid the tracks because I wanted them to be kind of dark.

With the painting finished, I flocked some bases just like I did with the Russians and glued the tanks to the bases.

I applied a layer of Testor's Dull Coat and the models are finished and ready for battle.

This is a pretty simple paint job, but looks very nice, in my opinion.  I've got a very small force completed and have many more to paint.  This force should grow quickly as these are easy to paint.  I love easy to paint.  Easy to paint are my favorite models.

As with the Russians, I've not added any markings to the tanks.  I'm just not sure they will be that noticeable and I don't want to ruin my paint job.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cold War Era in 6mm - Painting Russian T-55 tanks

The release of Team Yankee has piqued my interest in Cold War Gone Hot conflicts.  Team Yankee is written with 15mm models, but the games I have seen just don't look right.  The models they have put out are beautiful, but the ranges for the vehicles in 15mm on a 6' x 4' table are very short.  So I've decided to play these games with 6mm models instead.

Clearly I'm not the only one doing this as I've joined 2 Facebook groups that are focused on 6mm Team Yankee and another that is focused on 6mm gaming from all eras.

While Team Yankee is to blame for my interest in the subject, I have found a couple other rule sets that interest me as well; Cold War Commander and A Fist Full of TOWs 3.

I picked up a couple of packs of  Russian T-55 tanks made by GHQ second hand for a very reasonable price and decided they would work great for testing out some of these rule sets.  I will be using these tanks as proxies for T-70 tanks for Team Yankee, but they will work as is for the other rule sets.

My plan is to try out all three games (and maybe some others if I find more rules) and see which I like best before I settle in on any on in particular.  I have committed to playing 6 games of Cold War Commander in the next year as part of my 6 x 6 challenge, so I hope I like it.

I was surprised by the detail offered in these models.  They look great and paint up very quickly.

I've put a basic paint job together for these models, but I think a simple paint job can still look nice.

I primed the models white, and applied a base coat of Russian Green.  It took 2 layers of the green to get a solid coat.

Next, I washed the whole model with Nuln Oil.  I watered this down quite a bit as I applied it.

Model with the wash on the top, Dry brush applied to the bottom.

Finally, I mixed some white in with the Russian Green and dry brushed the models.  I tried to stay away from the tracks with the dry brush so they stayed pretty dark.

After that I glued the models to some bases and they are now ready for action.  I left off the machine guns as I'm pretty sure they would just get broken off anyway.

What do you think?  Should I do unit markings on these or leave them as is?  I'm not sure it is worth it?

Next up, will be some US tanks so these guys have someone to fight.