This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Superior Models 1/108th scale Tanks and AFVs

After several years of searching, I finally secured a couple of WWII Russian tanks from Superior Models. They are 1/108th scale (1 inch = 9 feet) so pretty much 15mm (which is 1/107th scale). They go back a long way, originally created under the Comet brand during WWII as identification models for the U.S. military. Comet sold the molds to Superior in 1962, and then Superior sold them to Custom Cast sometime in the 1970s. Quality Castings picked them up in the 1980s, and sold them to 19th Century Miniatures in 2002. Whew! You can still buy them from 19th Century here, but they are newer, refined versions of the original castings. Plus you can also buy post-WWII AFVs if that's more your speed.

First up is the KV-1b (5200). The T-34 usually gets all the attention when it comes to WWII Soviet tanks, due to many factors: ease of production, speed, armor, and firepower. Early on, the KV-1 was more than a match for the German light and medium tanks with their small caliber and short-barreled main guns. In the end, the T-34s advantages (half the weight, twice the speed, same or better main gun, lower cost) doomed the KV series. But they served their roles well, and should not be overlooked.

Next is the T-34/85 (5206), which was very poorly packed for mailing and did not arrive intact, with only a small piece of the main gun barrel rattling around in the box. I'm going to attempt field repairs in my depot and replace the missing barrel with small brass tubing. I'll post that as a follow-up once it happens. When the Soviets upgraded the main gun from 76mm to 85mm, the T-34s could now engage Tigers and Panthers from the front with an increased chance for success. The German tanks still had the advantage of range, but if you have the numbers, speed, and maneuverability of the T-34, you can close the gap and overwhelm your foe.

And this is what they look like side-by-side. I'll have to dig through the lead pile for some Heritage Panzertroops 15mm tanks and take a comparison shot.

Background information was obtained from the following sources:
Alnavco's History of Superior Models (PDF)
87thscaleinfo's Authenticast page (has the Superior product list and codes)
TMP's info pages (Comet, Superior, Custom Cast, Quality Castings, 19th Century Miniatures)
19th Century Miniatures (their Quality Castings 15mm AFVs)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New FR Campaign = New Characters to Paint!

In my last post, we wrapped up our long-running FR campaign. A brand-new FR campaign is spooling up, which means I get to pick and paint a new batch of characters for us to field against the DM's never-ending hordes of monsters. Once again, I'm going with Reaper minis to represent our band of intrepid explorers. Our new adventuring party consists of a druid, fighter, cleric, sorcerer, and a rogue. Here's some WIP pics, and my apologies for the quality. They are quick snaps from my phone.
with flash
no flash
My druid is the first 3E/3.5 tree-hugger since we started playing this ruleset. I can't recall the last time anyone played a druid, so I'm pretty sure we're talking way back in our 2E days. I'm really looking forward to this! At first I was going with 03484 Karlov Diedrich, Wizard because he just looks like a druid to me. I ended up choosing 03201 Damian Helthorne, Bandit because my druid serves Mielikki, and her druids are allowed to use the same weapons and armor available to rangers. So yeah, he looks more like a ranger than a druid, but that's my aim. Oh, and he's Aasimar, just to be different.

Dino is playing a human fighter, so I picked 03317 Kale Nolan, Heroic Warrior for him. He's been sitting on the lead pile, based and primed, because I knew I would use him sooner or later. His skin is too yellowish right now, but I'll work on that. Don't want him to look like a pirate with scurvy!

Matt is the medic this time, and 03365 Argonnite, Elf Cleric will be his half-drow cleric. I love the fact that Argonnite came with a weapons sprue so you could choose from a sword, mace, or bow. Maybe I'll stick a small spider on the base, just to remind him Lolth is not happy about a male half-drow cleric running around.

Steve wins the Best Prepared Dude Award for this campaign. Not only did he pick out and purchase 03381 Satheras, Elf Warlock on his own, he even told me he wants me to paint his sorcerer in a more neutral palette. That foiled my plans to paint him up in lovely shades of lavender and salmon.

The rogue pictured is 03062 Darnath, Male Elf Thief. That was before Craig decided his rogue is going to be a gnome, so I narrowed my choices down to 02959 Marius Burrowell, Gnome Thief or 03099 Klaus Copperthumb, Dwarf Thief. Klaus just arrived in the mail yesterday, so he'll be getting based and primed this weekend.

Oh, and I'm also working on some critters for Ned! Don't want the DM to feel left out. I'll post those WIPs next time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Forgotten Realms Campaign - End of An Era

A couple of weeks ago, The Dudes traveled to New Orleans to celebrate my 50th birthday in grand fashion. We lodged in a house that was the definition of character (see it here on airbnb) and was within walking distance of the French Quarter, although Uber rides were cheap and convenient. For touristy stuff, we did the airboat ride (Airboat Adventures) and visited the National WWII Museum. Thursday night was our big bar-hopping night, where we started off with a great dinner at Cafe Amelie and then hit 3-4 bars to listen to live music and partake of adult beverages. Best venue of the evening had to be The Maison, where we were treated to a rollicking set by Dysfunktional Bone.

We had a slow start to our Friday, but hey, we were on vacation. We decided to get started on our adventure, which involved us traveling to the Astral Plane to seek out and destroy the Lich Queen of the Githyanki. Real ho-hum stuff, right? OK, so let me back up and do some 'splaining. We rolled these characters up back in 2009. Yep, you read that right, 2009 - this party has been rolling for eight years! Of course, we only play a handful of times each year due to the fact four of us live here in Washington and the other two down the coast in California.

Between levels 1 and 20, we managed to end up quite high on the Red Wizards of Thay shit list. Oh, there were others too, but we had a full-blown Hatfields vs McCoys going on with the Thayans. They would stalk us, ambush and harass us, and we would repay the favor with forays into Thay, raid their caravans, and finally end up part of a massive drow raid that descended upon Thaymount and did major damage to the leadership caste. I think they might be holding a grudge for that escapade.

And then strangely enough, an emissary from the Red Wizards reached out to us because they wanted our help. Wait, what? Faster than you can channel your inner Adm. Ackbar (It's a trap!), we learned that Szass Tam, the Grand High Poobah of the Red Wizards, was scheming with the Lich Queen of the Githyanki to launch some sort of coordinated strike against Faerun. The other zulkirs weren't too keen on this solo endeavour by Tam, so they thought enlisting us (and the Red Sword) would put a stop to the plans without betraying themselves to Tam.

So that's how we ended up on the Astral Plane inside the Lich Queen's palace, fighting powerful Githyanki, gith/dragon hybrids, a legless Githyanki warlock, a two-headed red dragon (!), the Lich Queen herself, and some guy named Szass Tam. I'm pleased to report we were able to vanquish our foes in what was some of our best gaming to date. At least it was great, right up until the point where Szass appeared. We failed to destroy him (and yes, we had his phylactery) and my wizard/archmage Garrity was snuffed out by a Sphere of Annihilation. Luckily, our resourceful son of Moradin was able to do some of that cleric shit and bring me back. So Tam escapes and lives to scheme another day, but we did destroy the Lich Queen (permanently) and thwart Tam's plans of conquest.

What next? Well, for all intents and purposes, our high-level campaign is over. Ned reserves the right to continue this campaign down the road, but for now we are already looking ahead to starting over. I've compiled a small stack of character templates so once we determine our ability scores and hash out who plays what this time around, I'll be good to go. And I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to play this time around - a class I've never played before! Should be fun.

I'm sure Ned could write a dissertation on running high/epic level campaigns, but we would all agree that 20th level encounters take much, much longer. Buffs, immunities, SR, dispells, counterspells, the list goes on and on. I'll write my own thesis on the archmage sometime, but his high arcana abilities were very flexible and a lot of fun to use. Huge thanks to Ned for all the time and sweat he expended on the campaign, and for putting up with all the shit and shenanigans we put him through.

Of course the best part of the campaign is simply spending time with my best friends. We've rolled a lot of bones, drank a lot of beers, gave each other copious amounts of shit, and I love them like brothers. Wouldn't have it any other way.

PS - phylactery is apparently a hard word to pronounce for most of my party. And since they know me all too well, even if they wanted to pronounce it correctly, they butchered it just to stick it to me. Dickheads.