Saturday, January 20, 2018

Save These Dates!

    The next two miniature gaming events for the Detroit Metro Area (if there are others in the next three months please advise in the comments) are Spartacon and Flintcon. I have gotten firm dates for both and intend to attend them, please make plans to do the same. These events are hosted by hard-working volunteers and are always fun.

SpartaCon Saturday, 20JAN18 9am-11pm Lansing Center, Lansing Mi. Long known as the "Weather Event" Convention this has been blessed by lovely weather for the last three years. Held in the spacious Lansing Center this has long been the best way to start the new wargaming year. Website

Flintcon  Saturday 3FEB18 9am-11:30pm Sy. Paul Luther Church and School402 S. Ballenger Hwy Flint MI 48532.  Website  and Facebook and email at

    Both of these events benefit from participation by the entire wargaming community, so please plan to attend and consider running a game, they don't run themselves.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go To The Convention..

     I was haunted by a dark thought as I finished the last post; it all seemed to easy, things were going too well. I dismissed it as paranoia. How wrong I was!  Somewhere along the line, as I was applying additional groundwork to the bases it seems as if I overdid it. Yesterday I awoke to find the bases had warped like potato chips, the thin plywood allowing the moisture to penetrate too deeply and, as it dried, shrink and deform the bases. There was nothing for it but to run to the builder's supply and grab a bunch of lumber and build frames to attach the bases to. This, of course, meant that the model now sat well above the surface of the game table and thus necessitated sloping terrain to help blend the joint. So, instead of having time to fine tune the scenario I find myself rushing to finish terrain. I type this as paint dries....

the worst part is that the framing has doubled the weight 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last Minute Details

     Having finished the vast bulk of the fortress I got to work on the myriad of details that are still outstanding. First I made sure that my supply of cannon were painted and ready for action, then I began taking care of the little details on the fortress, such as the paved walkway around the interior; this proved to be far more work than I had anticipated (of course).

I was going to make some of them iron, but I like the bronze thing too much

oh look, hundreds of tiny blue-board bricks,
 I should have just used some embossed paper 
live and learn, they say

     Next on the list is a drawbridge from the ravelin to the ramp, followed by organizing the troops and packing everything up for transport.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

So Close I Can Almost Taste It!

     I got the first few stages of groundwork done, all the base colors and the the first round of flocking are finished. I am almost finished with the model. This is the part of the project that brings into focus all of the little things that still need to be completed; cannons, game support items, pre-packing the minis, rules, dice, information cards....

..........but I couldn't resist putting it all together to see what it looks like.  So here it is in all its glory!

just for safety's sake I think that I will trim back the inside corner of the bastion bases

Monday, January 8, 2018

One fourth of the Castillo completed!

    I have been pounding away at the Castillo model. Hours of intensive work have rewarded me with the completion of one fourth of the model; a wall, a bastion and assorted outworks. With these I have all of the complicated stuff done (and thus hope that things will move along a bit quicker). The whole doors and windows thing is a time-sink but there is no going back now. With that out of the way behold the noble fortress! (or a quarter of it anyways)

the moat will be painted a different color from the rest of the ground-work 
as a reminder to players that it is there and poses an obstacle

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Paint At Last!!! (Updated)

   After an almost-all-nighter I have finished priming and detailing the Castillo. I got the sand set on the base=boards and am finally ready to start the job of drybrushing the white stucco that covered the real fortress. I did a few test-cases; comment, suggestions and ideas are all welcome.

the test group; the stairway, a wall section, the ramp up to the ravelin and two garitas

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Gates and Drawbridges

   The ravelin simply looked too plain, I had to add detail (even if means losing sleep to be ready in time for Spartacon). I dug out my photo-survey of the real Castillo and noticed that the gateway/drawbridge of the Castillo are done in a fancy style. I decided to up my game and add some nifty details to really engage the eye.

this all started because I get bored watching paint dry 
that is just a primer coat, the Castillo will not be baby-puke brown!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Ravelin (Updated)

    Now that the hustle and bustle of the Holidays have passed I am working feverishly on the Castillo with one eye on the clock. Less than three weeks remain before the unveiling at Spartacon and I realized that I had not yet built the ravelin. For those not conversant with Vauban's method of fortification the ravelin was a smaller bastion-shaped out work that guarded the approach to the main gate. Ir was also often used as an additional layer of defense in front of the other sections of wall too. Happily for me the Castillo has but one and it stands on the south side of the fortress facing the town and covering the main gateway of the fortress.

 a photo of the actual Castillo de San Marcos

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas one and all!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas

May your stockings be full of marvelous toys!

Mostly Moat....what sort of madness be this?

      Even someone as mad as I will stop and consider exactly what they are up to. On occasion this moment of reflection changes the course of their actions, on other occasions it does not. I was confronted with the moat question when I first started this project; in my usual style (working without a plan and even fewer serious thoughts) I dismissed the question and charged ahead. It now seems that I have run out of "ahead" and have come full-circle to the moat question once more.

   I stopped to fully contemplate exactly what modelling the moat would entail; to model it at full depth (and why would you do ANYTHING else, if you were to take the plunge that is) would mean building a full-depth counterscarp (which would be about two inches high). This would look simply foolish without the covered way and glacis in front of it, so they would have to be added. Even compressed by a third these would add about six feet to the distance from the center of my model to its outer edge. Consider the lovely drawing below.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Aspern-Essling anyone?

Austrian grenadiers storming the Granary 

   Tom has offered to host another mega-game; this time the very-near-run-thing of Aspern-Essling. A titanic conflict between the still very good French and the Austrians in their very best form. Looking for players who can commit to at least six hours of gaming. And availability dates in the near future  This should be epic!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Of Guns and Gunners

somehow the British gunners ended up without a single linstock amongst them   
while the Dutch, Spanish and French are all properly equipped

     While waiting for the glue to dry on the bastions-basing project I spent my time finishing the gun crews that I had assembled. This took less time than I thought it would and I now am the owner of six more gun crews. I also painted one of my scratch-built fortress-carriage cannons. They seem to work together well enough. I am thinking that making a mold and casting the guns instead of scratch-building them is probably the best answer, more on that idea later.

the French gunners bravely volunteered to fire the experimental new cannon