Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finally!!!! An Update

WOW!!! It's been quit a while since I last updated this thing.

Oh well, what are ya' going to do about it - string me up like a piñata and let a bunch of pissed off women beat me with sticks?

It's not like I haven't been busy though. I've been busting my hump working on the house as well as a few other projects, but have been piddling in the wargaming world, just not painting minis as much as I'd like.

Okay - I've been call a 'Gear Whore' in regard to many areas that interest me. However, in the wargaming world you could probably call me a 'Rules Whore'. Then again, aren't all gamers 'rule whores' at heart? In the past several months I've purchased a few new rules and am looking at adding a few more to my collection.

The first one I picked up was 'Killer Katanas II' by Brian Bradford. I've always been fascinated by Samurai. Presently I'm contemplating the purchase of enough minis to build two Samurai armies for the Sengoku period.

And here they are!

I have heard that these rules are way different than the typical Mediæval/Renaissance rehashed to represent Feudal Japan. Just thumbing through the section dealing with army setup will prove this AND boggle the mind!

You can order them directly from Mr. Bradford or even through eBay and other sources.

When I ordered my copy of 'Killer Katanas II' from Mr. Bradford I snagged a copy of 'Date's Battles' as well.

This is a supplement book, but you don't need to have 'Killer Katanas II' to use it. It's actually a guide to the army and heraldry of the one-eyed dragon - Date Masamune. It's similar to an Osprey book, complete with color pictures and tons of info on various aspects of Masamune's army such as organization, weapons, clans appearance and Heraldry.

This is a MUST HAVE for those into Samurai history. The supplement can be ordered from Mr. Bradford or eBay as well as some other sources.

The last item I got from Mr. Bradford was a copy of 'The Imjin War - Army Lists & Rules Supplement for Killer Katanas II'.

This supplement contains lots of info on the organization and weapons of the Korean and Ming Armies that fought Hideyoshi's Invasion from 1592-97. For being just 16 pages long is crammed full of information - along the same lines as 'Date's Battles' but without the pictures.

Again, another MUST HAVE for the Samurai enthusiast.

The other two rule set purchased are along the more 'normal' line for me - Napoleonic.

First up is LaSalle.

There has be a lot of positive buzz about these rules so I just had to get a copy.

I purchased my copy direct from Sam Mustafa off his Honour site.

One of the best aspects about Sam and his rules is the entire web presence created to aid the gamer.

There is a forum where you can discuss the rules and get some great ideas.

There's also a download section where you can get all sorts of errata, tips and suggestions, new army lists, & etc.

However, the most unique section, to me anyway, is the Scenario-Wiki. You can go here and get loads of scenarios as well as supplements and even an army list for the US.

I really like these rules. They are well written and even a thick headed, heretic, gamer such as myself can understand them. The only issue I have is with the Army Builder section - I don't see eye-to-eye with how the British and Russian armies are treated. Like I said though...I'm a heretic.

There are lots of places on the web that have reviews and AARs, TMP has several, and I'd suggest you look through some of them if you are still curious about the rules. There's also an excellent review/AARs on Trailape‘s Wargame blog. It is in more than one post but well worth the read!

Another good 'meat-n-potatoes' overview can be found on Deep Fried Happy Mice.

Now this next set of Napoleonic rules are a bit more dubious.

Here they are - Napoleon by Matthew Fletcher.

I say "dubious" at the moment because I have not received my copy yet (it's in the mail) and can't comment on them personally. Also, there are tons of negative, sometimes brutal, reviews out there. Again, I would suggest looking around the web for reviews, especially TMP.

Don't get me wrong, you will find some positive, and kind of positive, reviews out there. However, for every positive review there are probably a dozen negative ones. Right now the negative press centers around the rules which make up about 32 pages out of 232 pages.

The main reason I wanted to check out these rules for what's on the other 200 pages. According to Foundry there's information on painting and collecting Napoleonic models plus other sections detailing uniforms and historical background as well as advanced rules covering pontoon bridges, grand battery fire, ground conditions, setting fire to buildings, friendly fire and ambulances.

As one guy on TMP said "OH LOOK PRETTY PICTURES" - that pretty much sums it up for me. I like lots of illustrations and pictures. According to the guys at Foundry - it has over 400 color photographs and illustrations, including many Knotël prints, plus numerous diagrams, maps and other illustrations.

I'm a bit frustrated right now that they haven't arrived yet. I ordered them through Amazon and the shipping confirmation says they shipped on April 16 and estimated delivery was May 10th!!! So this means they could arrive any time.

Now onto another subject altogether - Building Construction!!

Last Monday I had an appointment in the big city. I don't often get to the city anymore so when I do go I try to hit as many hobby type shops as possible. This trip was no different.

My first stop was to the main hobby shop around that carries anything close to wargaming. They carry lots of stuff for the fantasy gamer, but not historical. While there I found a nifty little tool used for cutting foam core made by Foam Werks. I have seen the other tools offered by this company and they weren't cheap. The tool at the hobby shop was no exception!! I passed on it.

I then ended up close to a Michaels Arts & Crafts store so I popped in. This turned out to be the best stop in a long time! Not only did I find the same tool that was at the other shop, but Michaels had the whole line. Now get this, the price here for the tool was about 25% less than the first shop but the best part(!) Michaels was having a clearance sell on most of the tools!!!


This made the tool more than 50% off the one at the first shop!!! So I snapped up a few new tools for building gaming structures.

The first tool is the straight/bevel cutter.

As the site says "Features include adjustable blade depth, ergonomic handle and on-board blade storage".

Just a drawing of how the cuts look.

Per the site you simply rotate the angled base block and it transforms from a straight cutter to a bevel cutter.

This is the Freestyle Cutter. As the name implies it cuts any freestyle shape you want.

Again it "features ergonomic handle, on-board blade storage compartment, blade safety shield and two blades".

Another drawing of how the cut can look. Looks like the beginning of a tabletop stream!!

The advert says "easy to use, just insert the blade into the board and push to follow the desired shape".

We will see... I have some Middle Eastern type doors and windows I want to cut and you know those have a lot of curves to them.

Okay, this next tool is the one that sold me on FoamWerks when I saw it a couple years ago. For those of you who are familiar with the 'Rabbeting the Corners' section on the 'Building Construction' page over on Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page you will appreciate this tool.

Here it is - the Rabbet Cutter.

The product site says it "features on-board blade storage and includes two blades and can be used as either a right-handed push style or left-handed pull style action".

Now doesn't this drawing look just about like the one on the Major General's site?

FoamWerks claims the following: "Create perfect adjoining foamboard joints with one-stroke finished results". I hope it will work like it says.

This next tool is the one I found at the hobby shop that leans towards fantasy gamers. They were selling it for $36 and I got it for $14!! It's called the V-Groove Cutter.

Doesn't it look like some sort of viscous insectoid type thing?

This sucker includes adjustable blade depth, quick change blade clips, magnetic blade slot, on-board blade storage drawer and five blades. There is a straightedge channel rail that it works with but I didn't buy that. I'm probably going to regret not getting the channel rail, but I figured I could use one of the straightedges I already have.

This drawing is what first drew me to the tool.

Apparently, if you use it correctly, it removes the need for rabbeting the corners and creates a seamless corner. Isn't that cool!!!

Kind of makes you want to ask "why did you buy the Rabbet Cutter?" doesn't it? Simple reason - I'm also a tool whore!! Besides, I know there will be times I will probably need to use the smaller of the two cutters.

Now if you think this feature is cool just wait till you see the next drawing!

Do you see it?!

That's right - you can use the V-Groove Cutter to make rounded forms!!! Think of all the rounded towers, wall edges, tunnels and arches you can make! Now this is a cool tool, at least to me. I just need to figure out some cool type building to make. Perhaps a Bavarian church for the Naps, or an outpost fort from the Sudan or the NWF, or perhaps some Pasha's fortified palace. Hmm...decisions, decisions...

Till next time...

Larry ~