Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Frogs and Trucks

At Hotlead I sold off 24 Great War Miniatures WWI Early war French miniatures I had purchased the year before on an impulse.

Over the past year I have decided early war isn’t something I will get into so had them bookmarked to sell.

I’ve been looking at Brigade Games WWI French as they come equipped with Adrian helmets as opposed to Kepis. I’ve had them in my shopping cart several times but failed to pull the trigger.

Imagine my elation when I chanced upon some in the Hotlead B&B. There were about 47 figures and had a retail price of about $110USD. I snagged them for $50CDN.

I based them yesterday. Now just a long wait until they go off to be painted.

I also received an eBay order of 4 models of yesteryear trucks. The 1918 Crossley was the one I was after. The others are a little late for RCW gaming but will work for WWII.

The 4 trucks cost £7.00 altogether but shipping was a princely sum of £12.40 which worked out to £19.40 or $33.10 CDN.

Maybe I’ll flip some of the trucks at next years B&B.

Monday, 27 March 2023

(Temporary Backup) Hotlead write-up

Hotlead is just shy of 24 hours worth of tabletop gaming and shopping spread across 3 days.

This year the event fell between Friday March 24 and Sunday March 26, 2023.

Ever since I have been going, it has been hosted in Stratford ON, at the Arden Park Hotel. I’ve gone for at least 11 consecutive shows. The Covid-19 Pandemic caused the 2020 and 2021 events to be cancelled.

Last year was the first time I spent the whole weekend. While an awesome and worthwhile time, it was also a little chaotic and I found myself exhausted by the end.

This year I stayed the whole weekend again. I smartly pre-registered for all of the games so didn’t have to wait in line.

My wife and 2 boys came up for Friday night session and left after the Saturday morning session.

Then my friend Matt came up for the afternoon session and evening session and then went home.

I stayed solo and played the Sunday morning session and then came home.

My boys and I started during the Friday night time slot. We played from 7pm until 10pm (our GM was running an early game on Saturday so we sensibly finished early but the hall doesn’t close down until midnight for the die-hards.

Fight For Survival Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Mech Battles. Gamma Wolves ruleset. Hosted by GM Randall Carter for 4 players.

There was an open spot at the table, and no line so I registered my boys as a player as well.

Here’s an overview of the table. I missed the faction on the far left. The scenario was basically a last-mech-standing wins type of game.

Fierce opposition 😂😂


As you can see by the size of the dice compared to the figures, they are fairly large. They models were actually 3D printed and scaled up. I think the larger models works well for a convention game. Really catches the eye.

I was wiped out as was the GM Randy. My boys. We’re the eventual winners as they had all three standing with minimal damage at the end.

We went to bed and woke up early for breakfast at the Arden Park’s restaurant. The staff there are always really friendly.

By 9am I had brought my items to sell in the Bring and Buy. The B&B is one of the large draws on Saturday. It’s a garage sale staffed by a volunteer team of redshirts (who are the unsung heroes of the day). They collect the money and keep track of the inventory. At the of the day, you pick up any of your unsold items and collect the money you’ve made. They keep 10% which gets donated to a charity. This years charity was “Soldier On” who received $2100 (I have several friends in the red shirts who said there were $19,000 in sales.) Not too shabby for an 8 hour sales day. The organizer must’ve put a few extra bucks towards the donations. But I’ve skipped ahead.

At 9:30 the B&B opens and gaming starts.

Speedfreaks! The fastest, most Orkiest race. Warhammer 40k game. Hosted by Peter Smith and Huw Powell for 6 players.

Basically the first Ork team to cross the finish line 3 times wins. But each vehicle was loaded up with weapons to blast the opponents to smithereens.

Basic table set-up. There was no room for my boys to play so I let them control the buggy and roll the dice. I helped out with strategic decisions.

It was pretty crowded at the starting line so while everyone went straight into chaos, we went left. Never said what direction you had to be going to cross the finish line. You can just see our blue wagon partially covered by the walkway in the top of the picture.

 Most racers knocked each other out but we had a major combat at this point in the race. We knocked this driver out but were on our last legs.

How it ended. The only two vehicles remaining. We both had two wounds left. We caused one and they caused two on us, causing us to explode. We rolled for our explosion, getting a 6 (we needed a 7 to damage, and this also eliminate the other racer) and coming in close 2nd.

My wife and boys left and it was on to the afternoon session.

My friend Matt arrived and we grabbed lunch and then sat down for 2pm.

Khalkhin Gil 1939 1/72 scale Rapid Fire! rules hosted by Mike Manning and Nick Wesson for 6 players.

The premise is the Russians and the Japanese were occupying two hills staring at each other for months. A brave (or foolish) Japanese company commander decided to cross the no man’s land and dig in on a ridge in the middle. The Russian wanted the Japanese out of the middle ground. 

Both forces raced for the centre and there was a hard fought battle as the Russians took the fortified positions only to be cleared out by Japanese tanks again and again. 

I didn’t take any more photos but after 2 hours of 
Not Matt rolling any dice due to the “strategy” of his team, he got frustrated, loaded his troops into their trucks and stormed the initial Japanese position. While they were wiped out, those Russians likely prevented the remaining two companies of Japanese from joining the melee in the middle.

I was flitting about as I had to cash out of the B&B so wasn’t entirely focussed on this game but it was another fun one. Mike Manning puts on very detailed and well run games.

We grabbed a bite of dinner and then jumped into the 7pm time slot.

Mongols with Mausers the Silk Road in 1920’s China era. Homebrew rules hosted by ‘Pasha’ Daniel Hutter for 8 to 16 players.

Here’s everyone sitting the table. This photo was taken by someone else and posted on the Hotlead FB group. 
Part of the charm is Dan brings a box of silly hats for everyone to wear.

There are 8 forces of varying military/political alignment with overlapping objectives. Bribes,  wheeling and dealing, and treachery are as much a part of this game as moving figures and rolling dice.
There is no real balance to the game.

Matt and I played a force of White Russians. Our objectives were;
- to find the mythical sword hidden in a monastery 5xD10 roll
-have as many Red Russians killed (by anyone, including us) 1VP per killed figure
-Have as much gold as possible - 1VP per gold coin in the purse

Now the Reds were on the far end of the table so we tried bribing the two forces on either side to no avail.

Here’s a close-up of our force. We had 2 leaders, a light machine gun team and 12 figures armed with rifles.

Under the mat, the folded piece of paper was one of the “bargains” we had struck.

Unfortunately for us, a horde of 20 mounted Mongols had the following objective:
1VP per every Russian (Red or white) killed. So they charged us and after a lengthy battle (cavalry have benefits in melee combat) highlights of which saw us throwing grenades into the combat at the bottom of the hill (which included our own men), we were wiped out and our full coin purse (18 VP) was taken.

However, Dan “revived” 6 figures (troops arriving late for the battle) so we could continue on in the fight. We finished with 7VP (4 gold coins and 3 dead Reds-killed by “allies”). The winner had about 53ish victory points, hard-earned by selling counterfeit magical swords.

Whenever Dan hosts Mongols with Mausers or any other of his games, I try to get in on the action as they are great fun. 

Matt went home and I went to bed. I woke early, packed the car and had breakfast alone at the Arden Park restaurant.

I grabbed my box of miniatures and newly acquired Cargo ship, checked out of the hotel and went to the 9:30 an Sunday morning session.

Madness in Manchester Pulp Skirmish One Brain Cell hosted by “Pasha” Daniel Hutter and David Winters. As many players as will fit.

Now this game is slightly unique in that players can bring their own troops to the table. The premise was that the castle in the centre had some arcane technology that everyone else wanted.

I didn’t grab a shot of the table. Here’s my forces minus my tank. I brought some of my WWI late war Germans to this party.

A sea monster arrived. Luckily I had beached my ship and was in the process of disembarking. I did help the remaining boats take it out though.

On the table there were 6 teleporters (the glowing blue lights). One of the other ships, ran aground and teleported to the middle of a field and duked it out there for the rest of the game.

My forces battled it out in front of the castle trying to blow the door in as monsters spawned and got in the way.

Cthulhu spawned (around noon ie. hometime) and everyone rolled a dice for their remaining units. 1-3 meant you became devotees to Cthulhu and were devoured. 4-6 means you fled in horror (and eked out a marginal victory) both my units fled in terror.

With that, I said so long to some dear friends, packed up and made the trek home.

Thanks again Hotlead (and the organizer James, who runs the great “Rabbits in my basement” blog and staff)  for another wonderful weekend.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Hotlead 2023 is over

Hotlead 2023 has come and gone. I had a fantastic weekend catching up with old friends and rolling some dice.

I’ll probably divide this post into two parts.

One of the best parts of Hotlead is the “Bring and Buy”. Think of a giant miniatures garage sale.
I brought 29 items in 4 bankers boxes. It’s always a difficulty between I want to price the items so they sell but I also don’t want to give them away either.
I ended up selling 25 of the items for a profit of $340.00. I also pumped $82.00 into the Bring and Buy (47 Brigade Games 28mm WWI French, TTCombat cargo ship with extension, some 3D printed and painted obstacles and a Canada Post 1/43 scale truck). Furthermore I purchased three boxes of Battletech miniatures and a newer Osprey book.
My good friend Dave snagged a Salute Wargames LTD edition Russian standard bearer for me and I reciprocated the favour by giving him a Judge Dread decal sheet from a previous issue of Wargames Illustrated.

So budget wise, 314.04+202 is 516.04. However, I recouped 340.00 so I’ve spent $175.09.

Here’s the haul:

Salute figure, WWI French and Sci-Fi barricades 

The TTCombat ship. It was in mint condition until I asked my son for some help and he bashed the side into a door absentmindedly. I’ll have to glue and reinforce it. It was $8.00. I’m not too upset.

The Canada Post truck and Osprey book. I see more weird/colourful units in my future.

The BattleTech beginner box.

Two BattleTech expansion boxes. I wanted to take a picture of the front with the models but my kids ripped them open when I got home. 

I also received some painted figures from my commission painter. I have 31 RCW Ukrainians, 4 RCW whites, a red, one German Freikorps, an NPC and 4 horses.

2023 Lead Mountain (mountain of unpainted miniatures) is as follows

12 Cavalry
74 Infantry
1 weapons team
2 vehicles (both painted)

89 Infantry (unpainted)
3 vehicles (unpainted)

Painted (commission, purchased painted, or done by myself)
41 Infantry
1 weapons team

How I calculate it is any unpainted miniatures/vehicles acquired adds to the Lead Mountain. Any painted miniatures/vehicles acquired does not add to the Lead Mountain. Anything painted (commissioned or by me) decreases the Lead Mountain

So adding everything together I have decreased the lead mountain considerably. I likely won’t be selling anything else for the rest of the year so just have to paint more then I buy.

+ 12 cavalry
- 56 infantry
0 weapons teams
-3 vehicles

I took a few pictures of the games I played so hopefully will post them soon.

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Assembling figures and Hotlead prep

I spent some time after work last week assembling the rest of my Baron’s War miniatures and three Oathmark Trolls and an Ogre when my 50mmx50mm bases arrived.

Here’s an overview.

On the left are my Crusaders on foot. 

The front rank are command figures. The next two are various knights on horseback. The back rank are men-at-arms on horseback.

Lastly there are crossbow men and archers, some peasants, spearmen and men-at-arms on foot. As you can see, I’ve painted the spearmen already.

My painting mojo for these kind of fizzled out after I found out that the Army Painter Speed paints reactivate when wet and I spent some time trying to nullify this (a wash, so I’m told).

Also I only primed the spearmen and it’s been too cold.

I also spent some time yesterday and today sorting through all my stuff to see what I could sell at Hotlead’s Bring and Buy. I think I have 20-25 lots of stuff. Hopefully it all goes.

Friday, 10 March 2023

Russian Civil War game

This past weekend, my youngest son asked to play with some soldiers. I happily obliged. I decided to use the Squad Hammer rule variant October Hammer. I first played Squad Hammer last March and really enjoy the ruleset.

Here’s the table. It’s a basic attack and defend scenario. The attackers (on the hills in the two top corners) have to claim the barn from the defenders. My son was the attacking Bolsheviks and  I was the defending Makhnovists.

To the right of the barn, the Bolsheviks deployed two squads and a machine gun team. They advanced on squad to behind the broken down farm wagon. My squad in the right paddock met them and engaged in combat. My squad eventually wiped out the other but were wiped out in turn by the machine gun and other squad.

On the left flank, one squad of Bolsheviks worked their way past the outbuilding. I left cover again and saw them off after a firefight supported by my machine gun team. I pushed the offensive and stormed the hill to flank the outbuilding but was cut down by field gun and machine gun squad. 
The other Bolshevik squad (behind the hill in the top picture) also worked their way down the left flank.

Back to the right flank, one Bolshevik squad entered the paddock and began to flank the barn. They were heard by my machine gun team who wiped them out.

My machine gun team and a squad I had hanging out at the front of the barn we wiped out from several rounds of shooting from the machine guns and field gun.

Meanwhile back on the left flank, the last Bolshevik squad got into the left paddock. I could have charged them with my last squad and tied them up but chose to engage in a firefight instead as my son was close to victory. 

He got inside the barn and eliminated my leader for the win. 

I’ve really enjoyed Squad Hammer and the October Hammer variant. I’ve played it once at a convention and 2-3 times since at home. Maybe one day someone will put a review on YouTube. Maybe that will be me. 

Until next time.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

New cabinet

I’ve been looking for a new cabinet to display miniatures in for quite some time. I scoured the internet for quite a while.

Typically I would grab something from IKEA but they really let me down. The Billy bookcases were out of stock. Besta no longer sells the narrow depth cabinets in the 6 foot tall version and Kallax has these really cool clear door inserts that aren’t available in Canada.

I was thinking I would be stuck waiting until Billy came back in stock or having something custom made, when gate smiled down upon me.

A large steel cabinet with sliding glass doors was being tossed. I asked nicely and was told I could have it. Success!

It is ugly, heavy and doesn’t have the modularity of IKEA or something custom BUT the price was right so I’ll make do. 

However it was going in a dark corner of my basement (no electrical plug available without extension cord) so I needed to source some type of lighting for the cabinet.

I found a three pack of these motion sensor, LED, rechargeable, and magnetic lights for $35.99 on Amazon. Added them to the cart (total $39.53) the next day I had them.

My budget this year is now $274.51+39.53 for a grand total of $314.04. Not bad by Hotlead is just over 2 weeks away.

I removed the shelves and the glass doors (so heavy on their own) and cleaned the tracks. I added graphite to the wheels. I brought everything downstairs and reassembled it.  I added the lights to the top three shelves. I also added an old IKEA mirror I had in an unused cabinet to the top space for extra light.

Here’s the overall look. The bottom space is dark. I’ll likely store boxed projects there for the time being.

The top space contains my RCW Makhnovists to the left of the tank. The tank to the right contains my WWI Germans. In front of the tank are some pilots and assorted NPCs for RCW/WWI.

The middle shelf had my RCW Bolsheviks and allies.

The bottom shelf has my RCW Whites and allies.  

Below is my wall mounted shelf which used to hold most of my Reds and half of my whites plus the Back of Beyond characters, vehicles and Turks on the third shelf. My WWII American 101st airborne now occupy the top two shelves.

That’s all for now. Til next time.

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Raising the standards

I have quite a large collection of RCW figures. Amongst the masses I have a handful of standard bearers. Painted with empty flag poles.

Here’s 8 lucky figures about to be completed. Three whites and Trotsky’s train guard in the front. A “red” Latvian and three Makhnovists in the rear.

I printed off a few flags at work. Some of the flags I found were a little pixelated but I don’t really care. The white flag on the right I’ve had for several years waiting.

The “red” Latvian and 3 Makhnovist flags on top and the Trotsky’s train guard and 3 white Russian ones on the bottom.

I have a few others who have yet to receive their flag pole and another whose flag I forgot to print. So I’ll do a part two later on.

I fold the flag in half, and use a glue stick to glue the sides together and onto the pole. If the flag comes loose later on, a drop of super glue fixes it tight.

I leave the white ends on to help with alignment and bend the flags to look like they are fluttering in the wind. When the glue is dry I trim the sides off.

Here’s the Makhnovist/anarchist flags. I have no idea what they actually say but the internet says they aren’t offensive.

Here you can see the pixelation on the white flags but from 6 feet away they look ace.

The “red” Latvian and Trotsky round out the group.

What I like about the RCW is that there is room for the whimsical, the odd and the imaginative mind.